Claremont, Calif. – Freshman forward Nate Shekita (San Jose, Calif. - pictured) scored an early goal in the fourth minute and it held up the rest of the way as the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Soccer team defeated Occidental 1-0 in a SCIAC game on Wednesday afternoon.
The win improves the Sagehens, who started a season-high six freshmen, to 5-4 overall and 4-1 in the SCIAC, including four straight conference wins since dropping their opener to Redlands. Occidental falls to 2-6 overall and 2-3 in the conference with the loss.
Pomona-Pitzer dominated the opening minutes before converting at the 3:41 mark. Freshman forward Lawrence McDonald (Oakland, Calif.) stole the ball from the Occidental defense near the top of the 18 and played a crossing pass to Shekita, who took a one-timer that was blocked, but the rebound fell back to his feet and he slotted an eight-yard shot home for his team-high third goal of the year.
Moments before the goal, the Sagehens came inches from scoring, but junior defender Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.) rattled the left post with a header, and the ball stayed on the goal line but did not cross before goalkeeper Andrew Larkin smothered it.
Occidental had one quality first half chance on a counter as Ben Murray broke into the left edge of the box with Munzer closing fast, but he chipped the ball just over the crossbar.
The second half saw Pomona-Pitzer control play, as it had numerous chances for an insurance goal. Sophomore Harris Levin (Sacramento, Calif.) hit the crossbar early in the second stanza and added a shot off the post in the 75th minute. Sophomore forward Michael Ceragioli (Incline Village, Nev.) was denied by a fingertip save from 10 yards from Larkin, who also stopped junior midfielder Robbie Hull (Salt Lake City, Utah) on a breakaway. Larkin added another sprawling save on a late shot from Shekita, who nearly scored his second of the day in the 85th minute.
Junior goalkeeper Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn.) had three saves to get the shutout, including one in the final second on a floating header from Marcus Brandford that settled easily into his hands. The Sagehens finished with a 14-9 edge in shots and a 6-3 edge in corners, while Larkin had seven saves in the loss.
The Sagehens will next be in action when they travel to Cal Lutheran on Saturday.