Redlands Defeats Sagehens In Battle Of SCIAC Leaders

Claremont, Calilf.  – Alex Laughton scored late in the first half and Will Walker scored early in the second half as the Redlands Men's Soccer team defeated Pomona-Pitzer 2-0 in a battle between the top two teams in the SCIAC standings on Saturday morning.

Redlands improves to 11-3 overall and remains perfect in the SCIAC at 8-0 with the win. Pomona-Pitzer slips to 6-5 overall and 5-2 in the SCIAC, with both losses coming to Redlands. The Bulldogs won the first meeting at Redlands by a 6-0 final.

The Sagehens fared better in the rematch, as it battled Redlands evenly for the first 40 minutes. Junior goalkeeper Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn.) had to make one big save at the top of the box to deny a counter-attack from Redlands' Evan Keny-Guyer, who had just checked into the game, but was otherwise unthreatened.

Pomona-Pitzer then generated several good chances before the Redlands goal, as freshman defender Mark Raftrey (Palo Alto, Calif.) beat a pair of Bulldogs to get a clean look at the top of the 18-yard box, but his shot was saved by diving goalkeeper Andreas Silva. Sophomore midfielder Harris Levin (Sacramento, Calif.) then had a header from just outside the six-yard box go wide of the right post.

The momentum quickly shifted, though, as Redlands scored against the run of play with 5:48 left in the first half. The Sagehens twice attempted to clear it out of their defensive end, but both times the Bulldogs were able to block the ball down. Alex Laughton then worked a quick give-and-go with Charles Isydorek and then spun at the top of the box before hitting a low shot that rolled into the side netting inside the right post.

The Bulldogs then almost added on a second goal with two minutes left in the half, as Matej Kustura got to a crossing pass on the weak side, and Thayer made a reflex save with his right hand to keep the game 1-0.

The Bulldogs then carried the momentum into the second half, as Will Walker scored just three minutes after halftime , when he headed in a cross from Gabe Ramirez to push the lead to 2-0. The Sagehens had two good chances to cut the lead to 2-1, but Silva made a diving stop on a flick shot from freshman midfielder Avery Raimondo (Quogue, N.Y.) and freshman midfielder Arash Mahboubi (La Canada, Calif. - pictured) missed high from the top of the 18 after creating space on his left foot.  

"Lapses in concentration are still costing us goals," said Head Coach Bill Swartz. "They're a great team, so for us to not expect them to come out at the start of the second half the way they did was disappointing. The second goal pretty much killed us."

Thayer finished with seven saves for the Sagehens, while Levin also headed a late attempt from Redlands off the goal line to prevent the final from being 3-0. Silva had five saves to get the shutout for the Bulldogs, which had a 15-11 edge in shots on the day.

"We just need to keep working hard at maintaining our concentration," said Swartz. "We've improved a lot these last three weeks (since first Redlands game). Obviously, we're at home, so that makes a difference, but we've also improved a lot. A game like this, the first goal is usually going to win it, and allowing one before the half off our own giveaway was too much to overcome."

Pomona-Pitzer will next be in action when it hosts Whitter on Monday, in a make-up of a rainout from Wednesday night.