Westmont Men’s Soccer (7-1-2, 2-1-1 GSAC) opened up their home GSAC slate on Thursday afternoon with a 3-0 win over the visiting Warriors of Life Pacific (1-12, 0-5). Westmont opened the scoring just five minutes into the match, before doubling their lead in the final minute of the first half.
Then, Westmont added one more goal late in the second half, before finishing off their fifth shutout in six games on Thorrington Field. In the end, Westmont out-shot Life Pacific 17-9, while holding the road-Warriors to a single shot on goal.
“There’s an old saying in football that says you try to win at home and steal points on the road,” said Westmont head coach Dave Wolf. “It you win your games at home and steal some points on the road, you’re probably going to be in a pretty favorable position when the dust settles.”
In the fifth minute, Connor Lynch opened the scoring thanks to an errant pass and a pair of selfless teammates. The scoring opportunity began when a Life Pacific defender possessed the ball in his own third of the pitch without a Westmont player threatening within ten yards. Twenty yards from his own goal line, the defenseman opted to try and sneak a pass through the legs of Donovan Howat, who stood directly between the two road-Warriors.
Howat calmly intercepted the pass and found an open Daniel Tuscano in the center of the pitch. Then, Tuscano found Braden Pryor on a run to the near-edge of the six, and Pryor found Lynch at the center of it.
In the span of only three touches, the two passes led to a one-touch finish for Lynch, who picked up his second goal of the season while giving Westmont a 1-0 lead.
“Connor has gotten going recently,” nodded Wolf. “Strikers are curious creatures, and they can be streaky. A lot of that hinges on confidence at the given moment in time. A few goals in the last couple games is a good return, and it will only help Braeden and Erik.
“We’ve got some nice attacking pieces, and that group continues to grow.”
The road-Warriors came within one minute of entering halftime down just one, but in the 45th minute, the home-Warriors found the back of the net for a second time.
The opportunity began with captain Landon Amaral launching a 40-yard pass to Erik Guerrero on the near sideline. From there, Guerrero carried the ball to the top of the 18, before sneaking a pass to Spencer Crithfield who was ten yards out.
With the defense turned towards Crithfield in the center of the box, Pryor darted for the right-post, catching the eye of Crithfield along the way. Then, Crithfield tapped the ball to a wide-open Pryor who snuck home his sixth goal of the season inside the near-post.
“I think Braeden is the best attacking player in the league “, said Wolf. “He is at the point where he’s going to have to anticipate antics coming his way, as he saw later in the game. No one has shown an ability to really stop him, so people are going to be looking for new ways to get at him, because he’s a handful.
“His talent is going to continue to attract attention.”
The second half saw the offensive pace of the match slow down for nearly a half an hour, before Lynch added to the total in the 73rd minute. The opportunity followed a dangerous tackle on a play where Pryor carried the ball to the top-corner of the 18 on the far side of the pitch. Following the foul a brief scrum occurred in which Pryor and the aggressor were both issued yellow cards.
Once cooler heads prevailed, Lynch lined up from 25 yards out, and spun a rocket into the upper-right corner of the net. Lynch’s second goal of the afternoon and third of the campaign proved to be a finishing touch on an eventual 3-0 win.
“Our team continues to do impressive things,” reflected Wolf, “and maybe it didn’t look exactly the way we wanted it to for all 90 minutes, but in the end, the scoreboard affirms a certain quality in this group.
“They’ve more than proven themselves, and they should be congratulated for their efforts up to this point.”
Westmont returns to the pitch on Saturday afternoon at 3:15 p.m., when they host Hope International on Homecoming. As part of Homecoming festivities, Westmont will honor the 50-year anniversary of the 1972 National Championship team before the match.
Links to tickets and live coverage are available on the Westmont Athletics website.