Los Angeles, Calif. – Junior midfielder Harris Levin (Sacramento, Calif.) scored 4:11 into the second half, and senior goalie Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn. - pictured) had five of his six saves in the second half as the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Soccer team won its eighth game in a row with a 1-0 road win over Occidental on Saturday.
The win improves Pomona-Pitzer's record to 11-4-1 overall and 10-2-1 in the SCIAC, clinching a postseason bid and essentially putting the Sagehens in first place in the league standings. Redlands is technically one point ahead at 10-2-2, but has played one extra game (which the Sagehens will make up with a road game at winless Caltech on Wednesday).
Before that contest, though, Pomona-Pitzer will travel to Redlands on Monday for a huge game in which the winner will be in the driver's seat for the regular season title. Occidental slips to 6-8 overall and 6-7 in the SCIAC with the loss.
After an anemic offensive first half in which it took just one shot (a long direct kick from Erik Munzer in the third minute), the Sagehens scored on their first shot of the second half. Levin scored when his right-footed shot found the lower-right corner just 4:11 into the second stanza, his second goal of the year.
Occidental came out with renewed vigor after the goal and tested senior goalkeeper Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn.) three times in the next 10 minutes, but Thayer came up with saves each time to keep the score 1-0.
The closing minutes then saw a flurry of action as Occidental had five shots and three corner kicks in a span of five minutes, with Thayer needing to make two saves. After the Sagehens finally got the ball down to the other end of the field with three minutes remaining, Occidental goalkeeper Ian Agrimis made three saves in 20 seconds, stopping Lawrence McDonald (Oakland, Calif.), Drew Lind (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Michael Ceragioli (Incline Village, Nev.) in succession to keep the score 1-0. However, Occidental was unable to get another shot off as the Sagehens held on for the win.
Levin's goal has capped off a week in which Pomona-Pitzer has kept its win streak going with goals from unlikely sources. Ryan Miller (Centennial, Colo.) came off the bench to score the golden goal in overtime of a 2-1 win over Whittier on Wednesday, his first goal since his freshman year. Levin, meanwhile, came off the bench to knock home the only goal this evening, his second of the year and third in the last two seasons.
Pomona-Pitzer could virtually clinch the regular season title with a win at Redlands on Monday, as it would then only need to defeat Caltech on Wednesday to seal it, even before its regular season finale against La Verne on Saturday. If Redlands wins, the Sagehens could still leap back into first if it wins its final two games, and Redlands loses or ties its finale at Whittier on Saturday. A tie on Monday would still leave the Sagehens in control of their own destiny, although the champion would not be determined until Saturday.