PASADENA, Calif. (Oct. 22, 2014) – Despite a pair of excellent chances to equalize, a late first-half goal proved to be the difference as the Caltech men's soccer team could not stave off SCIAC foe Chapman University on Wednesday afternoon.
The Panthers left with a 3-0 score line that was not quite indicative of the gameplay. Chapman improves to 8-5-2 overall and 8-4-2 in the SCIAC, while the Beavers are now 0-15-1 (0-12-1).
After taking the program's first point in SCIAC play against the Panthers just a few weeks prior, the Caltech defense was once again at the top of its game all afternoon, turning away attack after attack as Chapman would attempt 30 shots, but could only put 10 on target. As usual, sophomore John David Feist (Dallas, Texas / Jesuit College Prep) starred between the posts, making six saves on the first seven shots he faced.
A pair of early yellow cards marked what would remain a physical game throughout as both teams jostled for even the slightest advantage. Although Chapman held the majority of possession in the early going, little came of it as the Beavers defense kept any real danger from forming. The offense was able to gain its footing before long, and sophomore Kevin Gao (Los Alamos, N.M. / Los Alamos) would attempt the game's first shot on goal in the 26th minute. It took until the 31st minute for the Panthers to register their first shot on frame, which Feist saved.
Unfortunately for the Beavers, Chapman took the defense somewhat by surprise as Jake Sarmiento sent a looping shot from nearly 40 yards out just over the outstretched hand of the backttracking Feist and into the net for the 1-0 lead at the 41-minute mark.
As the second half got underway, Caltech was not far from an equalizer as the offense kept the pressure on the Panthers' wide defenders in particular. Disaster nearly struck in the 64th minute, however, as a handball in the box gave Chapman a penalty kick with the chance to double its lead. Yet Feist, who had already saved both penalties he had faced earlier in the season, made the diving stop to his left and the rebound attempt bounced harmlessly off the post to keep the Beavers in it.
Feist's penalty save and another diving stop on a low curler minutes later ignited the entire Caltech team as the Beavers pushed furiously to level the match. Senior Marec Serlin (Bala Cynwyd, Pa. / Harriton) had a golden opportunity to equalize as he made a move across the top of the box to beat a pair of defenders, but his curling chip was just off the mark. Moments later, sophomore Evren Gokcen (Gahanna, Ohio / Gahanna Lincoln) unleashed a rocket from a tight angle on the end line that goalkeeper Nick Berardi just managed to palm away.
As the final minutes ticked away, Caltech was forced to open up more in an attempt to salvage the tie. Chapman took advantage of the extra spacing and put away two more goals on a breakaway and deflected shot from the top of the box before the final whistle.
Head Coach Rolando Uribe and the Beavers will face Pomona-Pitzer (10-4-2, 8-3-2) in the first of their final two road games of the season on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. The game will be available via both livestats and video, which can be accessed through the team's schedule page.