NAPA, Calif. – Caltech men's soccer traveled out of SoCal for the first time since 2008 as it headed to Northern California to take on Napa Valley College. The Beavers battled hard versus a strong NVC squad but were undone by early goals, and ended their trip with a 3-1 result.
Napa's Daniel Holochuck scored two in a torrid first eight minutes of action. Though the Beavers found themselves down more quickly than in their previous matches, Caltech regained its composure and began an efficient charge.
On 30 minutes, Caltech won a free kick 35 yards to the right of goal. Senior Marec Serlin, who turned in a couple of solid performances already this season, stepped up and curled the ball into the far top corner over Napa goalkeeper Xavier Gonzalez. It was Caltech's first score this year and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Buoyed by the goal, Caltech's superior conditioning began to tell, and several breakaways resulted in missed opportunities or last ditch tackles from a Napa backline that seemed relieved to hear the halftime whistle.
Unfortunately, the theme of the first half repeated itself, and on 49 minutes, Holochuck won the ball and sent Moises Arroyo through on goal. Despite Caltech sophomore goalkeeper John David Feist's (7 saves) best efforts there was no stopping the Napa forward who finished with authority.
Caltech steadied the ship with a center back pairing of Adam Ball and Schaeffer Reed shutting down further Napa attacks. In midfield, Evren Gokcen and Kevin Gao made several surging runs that Napa did well to repel. Freshman Masaharu Ono, making his first appearance, sent in a dangerous cross which was almost converted by Nick Weil. Serlin did his best to set up Caltech's second score, but his low cross fizzed across the face of the Napa goal and out of play.
The Beavers last played out of state to begin the 2008 season when they went to Colorado College.
Caltech hosts Cal Lutheran in the first conference game of the 2014 season on Wednesday, September 10.