THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2014) - Early goals proved the undoing of a Caltech men's soccer team which, despite a brave effort, fell 5-1 at California Lutheran University in front of a large homecoming crowd.
The Kingsmen improve to 5-7-3 overall and 4-6-2 in the SCIAC with the victory, while the Beavers drop to 0-14-1 (0-11-1).
Missing several starters through injury, Caltech entered the match needing to weather the early storm in front of such boisterous home support. However, in the fourth minute, Zack Larson got down the right side and pulled a cross back for Logan Cone, who fired home for the 1-0 lead. The hosts added a second in the eighth minute as a pirouette by Larson inside the box opened the way to goal and the forward fired a shot into the bottom corner.
Rather than taking the easy way out and simply limiting the damage at that point, the Beavers did not back down and soon after were rewarded with a great team goal to halve the deficit at the 13th-minute mark. Senior Marec Serlin (Bala Cynwyd, Pa. / Harriton), playing with a cast on his newly injured hand, sent the ball to freshman Chris Haack on the left wing. Haack sent an in-swinging cross into the box, where Alex Pien rose above his defender and nodded the ball into the path of junior strike-partner Jean-Alexandre Turban (Miami, Fla. / Miami Palemotto), who guided the ball past keeper Jack Duncan for his first goal of the season to make it 2-1.
The goal quieted the crowd and shortly afterwards Pien again found space in the box, but was unable to get off his shot . In the 22nd, minute Cal Lu extended the lead to 3-1 with a mid-range shot from Gui Borini that went though a crowd, leaving Caltech goalkeeper JD Feist (Dallas, Texas / Jesuit College Prep) little time to react. Cal Lu pressed to seal the game before the halftime whistle went, but Feist was in inspired form, making several athletic saves to keep his team in the game and the score at 3-1.
As the second half got underway, it was clear the next goal would shape the outcome and, in the 53rd minute, it went to Cal Lu. Bryan Hulse took a speculative strike from 20 yards that Feist seemed to be tracking, but the ball deflected off a Caltech defender and under the crossbar to make it 4-1.
Sophompore David Luo (Westford, Ma. / Belmont Hills) hit a stinging volley across the face of goal and sophomore Evren Gokcen (Gahanna, Ohio / Gahanna Lincoln) made several surging runs down the right side, but the Beavers were unable to again trouble the Cal Lu goalkeeper. In the 73rd minute, Cal Lu's Mason Cleek crossed low for Ryan Barber to score the game's final goal.
Despite the defeat, Caltech showed its character in competing until the end and were able to give several players their collegiate debuts: sophomore Alp Sunol (Tampa, Fla. / Tampa Prep), Archana Chintalacharuvu (Torrance, Calif. / California Acad. of Math/Science) and Joseph Roddy (St. Louis, Mo. / John Burroughs) and freshman Ashwin Hari. Feist in particular enjoyed one of his best performances of the season, making a whopping 16 saves in net.
"We had a good fight tonight but we lacked enough possession of the ball and were not able to connect with the final pass in the attacking third," Head Coach Rolando Uribe said. "Tactically, we had to adjust during the first 10 minutes of the game since we had four starters unvailable tonight, but our bench provided a great spark for us. This was truly an entire-team performance, as all 22 players saw the field."
Coach Uribe and the Beavers will host Chapman University (7-5-1, 7-4-1), which they tied 1-1 earlier this season, on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m.