THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. –Another impressive performance, including two first half goals from Erik Mejia and Chris Pelaez, led the California Lutheran University men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Chapman, Wednesday night at William Rolland Stadium.
"We just need to keep grinding," said Head Coach Miguel Ruiz. "We need to take it one game at a time. I think if the boys stay locked in and don't worry about standings or anything else, something good will come at the end."
The Kingsmen struggled to find their footing in the early minutes as the Panthers were in control shortly after kickoff. However, CLU quickly made adjustments and would find themselves on the front foot for the remainder of the match.
The teams would finish even in shots on the night (10-10) but Cal Lutheran were much more clinical with their chances and found themselves in more dangerous areas than their opposition.
In the 25thminute, the Kingsmen were extremely close to finding the opener when Aaron Winsick tried his luck with a first-time shot from outside the box and his curled effort would strike the crossbar.
Just a few minutes later, CLU would win a corner. Showing their effectiveness from set pieces, Joey Arnold whipped in a beautiful ball to the back post were Mejia was standing in acres of space. The sophomore, playing right back for the night, would show great composure, blasting his opportunity into the back of the net to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead.
Eager to score again, the Kingsmen would make another push for goal in the dying minutes of the first half. With seconds remaining, Matt Myers did well to win the ball high up the pitch and drive down the left wing. The freshman played a well-struck ball to the back post where Pelaez was waiting to tap it in and score his first goal in the Violet and Gold. This would give CLU a 2-0 advantage just before the halftime whistle.
Cal Lutheran would continue to strive for another goal, nearly finding a third in the 51stminute when Mejia rose up to head home a cross from Adrian Graciano, but his chance would sail just wide of the post.
The Panthers would eventually grab a goal in the 81stminute, but it would prove to be too little, too late as the Kingsmen would hang on to earn their third consecutive victory in SCIAC competition.
The center back pairing of Tyler Sherard and Ryan Fraye were in control all night on the backline, consistently cutting out Chapman's attacking play. Sherard also did very well to carry the ball up the pitch and use diagonal passes to find wingers in space down the channels.
Tallying shots on target for the Kingsmen were McKay Severance, Pelaez, Myers, Arnold and Mejia.
Owen Ebner was solid in goal yet again, racking up four saves while also showing his ability to distribute the ball effectively. CLU consistently kept possession from his goal kicks.
Cal Lutheran will look to continue their winning ways when they return to William Rolland Stadium to host Occidental in another conference matchup Oct. 5 at 4:30 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 2, CU 1
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director