PASADENA, Calif. - Following a narrow one goal defeat last time out, Caltech was again the unlucky one on Wednesday. Pomona-Pitzer came to town and, in a nail-biting contest, scored a 1-0 victory.
In a game between the two longest serving coaches in the conference, Caltech's Rolo Uribe and Pomona-Pitzer's Bill Swartz, the Sagehens (8-2-1 overall) entered play as conference leaders and strong favorites. However, a tactical game of chess emerged with the visitors trying to dominate the wings and the Beavers trying to take hold of the middle. The result was a game that was close from start to finish.
The Sagehens passing was on-point from the off, but strong play in the middle of the pitch from Caltech freshman duo Bobby Sanchez and Masaharu Ono meant that the Beavers were always a threat to counter through speedy wingers Kevin Gao and Evren Gokcen. A tight first half resulted in only one good chance apiece. First. P-P's Peter Rentzepis hesitated in front of goal allowing Jared Schaeffer Reed to make a goal-saving tackle. Shortly afterwards, a cross from Caltech's Marec Serlin found Gao free and unmarked eight yards out but, facing the sun, the sophomore midfielder miscued his header high and wide with the goal gaping. The halftime whistle went with 0-0 representing an accurate representation of the action.
The first goal was always going to be key and, seven minutes into the second half, the Sagehens were the ones to get it. Caltech failed to fully clear a corner and P-P's Jake Merkle was there to slip the ball past goalkeeper John David Feist (six total saves). Pomona-Pitzer began to exert a stronger grip on possession after the goal but was restricted to long range strikes that were either off-target or easily handled by Feist.
Caltech sent numbers forward in the last 20 minutes in search of an equalizer but, even with goalkeeper JD Feist joining the attack in the opposition penalty area, P-P defended their goal with poise.
It was an impressive performance from the whole Caltech team. Special mention goes to the Beavers back-four of Teo Wilkening, Adam Ball, Jared Reed and Valentin Skoutnev. They operated as a strong unit that afforded the visiting frontline very little space, and helped launch numerous Caltech attacks.
The Beavers travel to Chapman (4-4 overall) on Saturday in a 5 pm kickoff.