Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Soccer team has now played back-to-back overtime games as they pulled off a stunner 2-1 over Cal Lutheran University.
The Purple & Gold who were coming off a 1-1 draw with Chapman University improves to 1-2-2, 1-0 SCIAC. They hand CLU their first loss on the season as they drop to 2-1-1, 0-1 SCIAC. The last time Whittier beat the Regals at home was back in 2016 when they pulled out the 1-0 victory on October 29. Over the last four years Whittier and Cal Lutheran have matched up against each other six times in the regular season with four of the six games going into extra time. Whittier is 2-3-1 in those six contests.
"The girls work ethic this first month has been second to none," explained Head Coach Derek Hanks. "We were beyond excited for how fit the ladies came into camp and how prepared they were to compete day in and day out. We have some great leadership this year in seniors Erin Myers (Hacienda Heights, Calif.), Clarissa Field (Whittier, Calif.), and junior Jazmin Gomez (Norwalk, Calif.). They've set the standard and have put the team in a great place right where we need them to be for conference."
Cal Lutheran totaled three shots in the opening ten minutes, which included Alexandra Fagerberg striking a header in the box, which would go just above the crossbar. Mandy Crawford also got an opportunity in the 15th minute from just outside the penalty box but her shot too would go high. Vanessa Martinez (La Mirada, Calif.) was tested all afternoon between the posts coming up with two big saves in the first half. Freshman Makayla Moraga (Whittier, Calif.) had a chance to put WC on top 18 minutes in as she got off a look on the end line but her shot would be turned away by Alexa Soto.
CLU struck first in the 32nd minute from Remi Miller who settled a pass in from the right wing, Kylie Garcia. She then slipped one past Martinez giving the Regals a 1-0 lead at the half. Out of the break CLU continued to provide the offense with Sam Cornejo getting a look in the 53rd minute but her shot would hit the crossbar. That was followed by two more shots by the Regals.
Whittier scored the equalizer in the 57th minute from Myers. She attempted a pass into the box for Gomez. A Cal Lutheran defender headed the ball back out but it went right to Myers who one-timed the game-tying connection just inside the crossbar. Down the stretch Martinez was forced again to come up big and she rose to the occasion coming away with another two stops. Over the final fifteen minutes the Poets created opportunities with Field and Audrey Jeltema (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) getting off looks but both would be turned away from Soto. With two minutes to play Gomez created space in the box and got off a pair of shots. Her first was high and her second was stopped by Soto that sent the game into OT.
In the first extra period Cal Lutheran's Trinity Martinez got off a great shot from just inside the penalty box but her attempt would hit the crossbar. She would take the ensuing corner kick and would find the head of Maddy Griess but her attempt would get blocked. The only look Whittier had in the period was from Field who sent a shot high.
Five minutes into the second OT session the Poets earned an opportunity in CLU's defensive half. Freshman Mackenzie Reed (Mililani, HI) gave chase to a loose ball in the box. Two defenders came in along with Soto. Reed would get off a shot, which would get stopped by Soto but the deflection would go off a Regal defender and into the net for an own-goal golden goal.
"Anytime you can beat a team like Cal Lutheran its special," Hanks explained. "They have been at the top of the conference standings for awhile now so to come out on the SCIAC opener and get the win is huge for our confidence. Myers' goal tonight was world class and Reed's pressure up top for the second goal was exactly what we knew she would bring to our team this year. Unbelievable team win tonight. Now our focus shifts to Redlands and working to earn three more points."
Whittier was outshot 20-11 on the game and was held without a corner kick at 5-0. Martinez finished with four saves playing all 105:12. Gomez and field each got off two shots and was joined by Moraga, Myers, Logan Cervantes (Torrance, Calif.), Reed, Bella Capellino De Escobedo (Los Angeles, Calif.), and Jeltema.
Whittier remains in SCIAC play this Saturday, September 21 when they host the University of Redlands beginning at 7:00pm.