Wardle's Late Goal Leads to Draw for Kingsmen
Wardle scores in the last minute, CLU ties Pomona-Pitzer 1-1
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran men’s soccer team trailed for 89 minutes and 49 seconds before Alex Wardle kicked in a diving shot just before the end of regulation to tie the game against Pomona-Pitzer Saturday night. The teams then slugged it out in two overtimes but the blustery conditions made scoring opportunities hard to come by as CLU settled for a 1-1 draw.
The early stages of the game provided some fireworks in the 14th minute, Kylie Fleming nearly scored when Nick Baldi’s shot deflected off a Pomona-Pitzer defender right to Fleming’s feet. The forward took one dribble and shot but Sagehen goalkeeper Nigel Brady came up with the save.
Four minutes later Fleming again almost had a goal when he took a left-footed shot from the top of the box but it leaked wide of the target.
Pomona-Pitzer counter-attacked on the ensuing goal-kick and Nathan Shekita had an open shot on goal before Jack Duncan made his first save of the game.
Fleming had his third scoring-chance of the half in the 33rd minute when he collected a cross, spun and sent a right-footed shot on goal but Brady was able to make a diving stop.
Pomona-Pitzer scored in the 39th minute when Duncan couldn’t get a handle on the ball and it trickled out, allowing Shekita to pass the ball to JK Gopakumar who found the back of the net and put the Sagehens up 1-0.
Duncan made a spectacular one-handed save to open the second half when Voja Maric tried to convert on a one-on-one in front of the penalty box.
In the 80th minute, Duncan had nearly identical one-handed save when Lawrence McDonald had a break-away and tried to kick the ball with his left foot to the right side of the goal but Duncan made the lunging save.
Cal Lutheran had a great scoring-chance of the half came in the 86th minute when Salvador Orozco bent in a through-ball that Fleming got a head on but was cleared by a Pomona-Pitzer defender.
The Kingsmen finally broke through in the closing seconds when Orozco sent in a free-kick that was headed by Jorge Galvin into Wardle, who made a sliding kick and gave CLU the equalizer.
Without any real scoring opportunities in the first overtime, Fleming had a shot in the 115th minute when Ivan Sanchez knifed in a pass to the forward that he struck just wide of the goal.
The teams battled fatigue and wind in the closing minutes and then settled for the draw.
Fleming led CLU with eight shots while Baldi and Wardle had two apiece.
Duncan turned back a career-high 10 shots against the Sagehens.
Shekita led Pomona-Pitzer with four shots including three on-goal.
Cal Lutheran (7-2-2, 5-1-2 SCIAC) now turns its attention to next Wednesday, Oct. 9, when the Kingsmen host Occidental at 7:00pm.