After a late start to its season opener Friday, the Westmont men’s soccer offense found the net early and managed to hold on for a 3-2 win against visiting UC Merced in the 13th Heritage Club Classic at Thorrington Field on Friday.

The Warriors’ victory followed a 2-2 draw between The Master’s University and Embry-Riddle University (Ariz.).

Westmont took the lead twice before the game-winning strike by Christian Webb off an assist by Francisco “Panchito” Castro in the 85th minute.

Westmont struck early in the match, scoring in the fourth minute. UC Merced equalized in the 23rd.

In the second half, locked at 1-1, the Warriors took the lead on a crossing pass by Owen Bates that Tyler Young knocked into the net. The momentum, however, was short lived, as UC Merced’s Marcos Ceballos headed in a cross from teammate Miguel Coronado just two minutes later. 

The Warrior defense held tight, led by goalkeeper Lalo Delgado with five saves and fellow senior captain and center back Tim Heiduk.

“Tim and Nick Ruiz were rock-solid in the middle for us,” said Westmont coach Dave Wolf, who also singled out senior Lucky Puengrod for being a catalyst in overcoming a swarming Bobcat defense.

“I thought that Lucky, if we could get him on the ball, had the capability of playing fast enough to beat their pressure and he did just that tonight.” 

The Warriors face face Embry-Riddle, in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.