Sagehens Take SCIAC Opener From Redlands

Sagehens Take SCIAC Opener From Redlands

Claremont, Calif. - Junior forward Voja Maric (pictured) scored on a counter in the 77th minute to break a 2-2 tie and give the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Soccer team a 4-2 win over Redlands in the SCIAC opener for both teams on Wednesday night. 

With the win, Pomona-Pitzer improves to 1-1-1 on the year and 1-0 in the SCIAC, while the Bulldogs slip to 1-1 with the loss, including 0-1 in league play.  The Sagehens also won at Redlands for the second time in a row, after earning a 1-0 win in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament finals on the same field last year. 

Pomona-Pitzer lost 1-0 and 2-1 leads as the Bulldogs evened up the score both times, the second time coming with 27:41 to play on a goal from Tom Elsea. Redlands had a couple of strong bids for a go-ahead goal in the ensuing minutes and seemed to have momentum on its side, but Maric then was able to get loose behind the Bulldog defense and tuck a shot into the net with 13:31 left to put Pomona-Pitzer in front 3-2.

The defense held tough down the stretch, and the Sagehens were able to salt the game away in the closing minutes. Freshman Max DeWit had his shot saved over the end line for a corner kick, and Maric had another shot saved in front. However, sophomore forward Peter Rentzepis was there to put in the rebound with just under two minutes left to seal the win 4-2.

Pomona-Pitzer also struck early as junior midfielder Jk Gopakumar scored just 2:39 into the contest off a feed from sophomore midfielder Ethan Flor. Redlands answered at the 7:01 mark to tie the score, but senior defender Mark Raftrey put the Sagehens back in front at the 28:50 mark, which is where the score stood going into halftime.  

The two non-conference games had seen some frustrating results for the Sagehens, including a 2-2 tie with Colorado College on Friday after they surrendered a 2-0 lead, and a 1-0 defeat to Oberlin on a goal with 11 seconds left on Sunday. This time, though, Pomona-Pitzer seized the game late.

"I thought we showed some pretty good resolve today," said Head Coach Bill Swartz. "We were coming off a tough loss on Sunday and we let a couple leads get away, but we pulled it together and came out with a big win. As a coach, I would like to see us tidy things up a bit when we have the lead, but to go on the road and start league play with a win is a great result."

Pomona-Pitzer is back in action on Saturday when it plays another SCIAC road game at Occidental.