THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In the final game of the 2013 Kingsmen Kickoff Classic both teams were after their first win of the season. It was the host Cal Lutheran Kingsmen to earn that victory, defeating visiting UC Santa Cruz 1-0 at William Rolland Stadium before a packed house.
Cal Lutheran quickly put a Friday night loss in the rearview mirror as the squad came out tonight ready to play. The cohesion began to show with 20 different players stepping onto the field for the Violet and Gold as the execution was clearly much better 48 hours later.
A physical game throughout, the 90 minute contest saw 35 total fouls and six yellow cards, and was well-balanced in all facets of action. CLU not only had the upper hand in scoring, but also held an edge in shots with 10 while the Slugs had seven. UCSC earned four corner kicks to three for the Kingsmen.
It was a scoreless game until the 71st minute when one of those 18 UC Santa Cruz fouls resulted in a penalty kick, that sophomore Alex Wardle converted into the only goal of the game, sending the players and fans into a frenzy.
After the opening 45 minutes there was no score, though there were 18 total fouls, with four and three shots taken for the Banana Slugs and Kingsmen, respectively. No one really seized control of the momentum and the teams were as evenly matched as could be.
In the 22nd minute Cal Lutheran was able to get the ball in front of the UCSC goal and after the ball ricocheted around in front of the cage and the Slugs’ goalie Nate Levinson came out of position Ivan Sanchez had a chance to give the Violet and Gold and early lead. Unfortunately the goal was retracted because the ball had gone out of bounds on the baseline, leaving the teams scoreless. Jorge Galvan also had an opportunity, firing off a laser from 25 yards out that was saved by Levinson.
UCSC used a foul to their advantage in the 34th minute, but a diving Wardle blocked the ball headed straight for the back of the cage as the teams stayed tied 0-0.
With seven minutes to play in the opening half the home crowd of more than 400 got into the spirit with a C-L-U chant, however the spark did not trickle onto the field at that point as the teams went into the intermission without a score.
Cal Lutheran goalie Jack Duncan had two saves, both coming in the opening frame, as he played all 90 minutes in his first start of the season. The defensive unit of Galvan, Wardle, Henry Breheny and Tal Zaiet aided in the shutout.
Leading the offensive attack for the Kingsmen tonight was Sanchez who tallied three shots while Galvan had two chances.
UC Santa Cruz (0-2) was paced by a pair of shots from Zach Hummel while five other players producing one opportunity apiece. Levinson saved three shots in 90 minutes of action as the Slugs keeper.
This morning Pacific Lutheran (2-0) completed a tournament sweep with a 2-1 victory over Occidental. The Lutes took an early 1-0 lead in the 26th minute on a clear shot from Derek Johnson that found the back right corner of the goal.
Occidental equalized in the 44th minute when the Tigers earned a penalty kick. Alessandro Carotenuto converted that opportunity into a goal, knotting the teams at 1-1 entering the halftime break.
Similarly to yesterday, Rigoberto Loreto was credited with an assist as Giancarlo Santoro netted the game winner, this third goal of the weekend, in the 58th minute when his shot to the back left corner found the back of the net.
Cal Lutheran (1-1) returns to the field on Saturday, Sept. 7 when the Kingsmen host George Fox at Rolland Stadium with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m.