On a day where Westmont men’s soccer celebrated head coach Dave Wolf, the Warriors (4-0-1) added to the festivities with a 4-0 win over Fresno Pacific (1-3). Fans in attendance celebrated both ends of the tenure-spectrum on Saturday, as they honored Wolf in his 32nd season on a day when freshmen were responsible for three of the club’s four goals.
“We can officially say that momentum is on the field with us right now,” nodded Wolf. “There’s a real edge and quality to our group. That first half we played was as good a half as I’ve seen played in a very long time.
“Ironically, I was glad I didn’t have time to talk to them at halftime because I think I might have gone overboard. They really did not take one bad step in the first half.”
Freshman Erik Guerrero set the day’s tone in the 12th minute when the Warriors were awarded a free kick 30 yards out. Guerrero, the left-footer, lined up alongside Aldo Becerril as the two contemplated their options. On the ensuing kick, it was Guerrero who let it fly, ultimately giving FPU keeper Elmer Carballo no chance.
Guerrero’s shot hooked over the wall and under the upper-left corner of the post, well out of the reach of the shuffling Carballo. The second goal of Guerrero’s freshman season put the Warriors up 1-0.
Then, in the 43rd minute, Guerrero was solely responsible for the Warriors doubling their advantage. On the near side of the pitch, Guerrero sent in a corner kick that was immediately headed back out. On the edge of the 18-yard box, a Sunbird brought the ball down and spun towards midfield.
What the defender did not notice, however, was an oncoming Guerrero who stripped the ball cleanly. Then, after a single touch to set up his left, the freshman pocketed the ball inside the same left-post he had earlier, giving the Warriors a 2-0 lead.
“We haven’t had a freshman make this kind of impact this quickly in a long time,” reflected Wolf. “We certainly knew about what he could do with that left foot, and one of the things we were excited about was the dead ball ability.
“What we didn’t anticipate was the work rate he brings, and the amazing technical speed he plays with. Right now, he just looks very comfortable.”
At halftime, a packed Thorrington crowd rose to their feet in applause when the club honored not only Coach Wolf, but his Wife, Jill, and their five children. The family all received gifts, with the grandest of all being a framed Westmont Soccer jersey, with a 32 on the back for Wolf.
Then, Fresno Pacific’s head coach Jaime Ramirez took the microphone to speak on his three-decade long relationship with the Warriors’ coach. Ramirez, who is also in his 32nd year, began coaching the Sunbirds in 1991.
“I feel like I’m having these lifetime highlights one after another,” smiled Wolf. “I would’ve been completely satisfied at the end of Friday’s ceremony, and then we went and had a great time with the alumni after that. Then, it still wasn’t over.
“All together, it’s too much, but it’s awfully special to be able to share these experiences off of a performance like that. Hopefully, the former players here enjoyed what they saw, and were proud of the quality that our guys displayed today.”
The energy at Thorrington continued to rise in the 49th minute, when the Warriors took advantage of a corner. With Guerrero off the pitch, sophomore Miguel Alvarado was the man tasked with sending the ball in. Alvarado lifted a perfect cross to the back of FPU’s six-yard box, and waiting for it to come down was freshman Christian Jimenez.
The freshman leaped and put a head on the ball, redirecting it to the back of the net for the first goal of his collegiate career.
In the 77th minute, Daniel Tuscano tied a bow on the day of celebration. Tuscano took advantage of a miscue from the FPU defense when a pair of Sunbirds were attempting a routine pass in their own third of the pitch. Tuscano intercepted the pass that led him seamlessly into the box, and calmly shot past the Sunbird keeper for the first goal of his junior campaign.
Thirteen minutes following Tuscano’s goal, the Warriors had their third consecutive shutout, and fourth consecutive win.
“It’s nice to have multiple guys that you can go to and get production,” shared Wolf. “There’s one or two more that we’d like to get on track, but the nice thing is, when you’re on a roll like this it buys time for the guys who are still finding their footing.
“For today, it was nice seeing Daniel and Christian get their first goals in a Westmont kit.”
The Warriors will return to the pitch in search of their fifth consecutive win on Wednesday, when they host Bethesda at 4:00 p.m. Tickets and links to live coverage are available on the Westmont Athletics website.