Mauled by Lions, but victorious over Warriors

Men’s soccer struggles against Vanguard but obtains critical victory over Westmont.

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Mauled by Lions, but victorious over Warriors

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Kyle Kohner, Writer

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The Eagles men’s soccer hit the road for a critical matchup against the Westmont College Warriors, a Golden State Athletic Conference juggernaut, in Biola’s first away game in a month on Tuesday Oct. 4

An Early Lead

Coming off the bench, Eagles’ senior forward Daniel Martinez rocketed a goal into the bottom right of the net past the Warriors’ keeper to push the Eagles to a 1-0 lead with seven minutes to spare in the first half.

Five minutes after Martinez’s goal, freshman midfielder Colton Hunter knocked in a deflected ball for his first collegiate goal only 10 minutes after coming off the bench. The attacking Martinez assisted  Hunter’s goal to put the Eagles ahead with a couple minutes until halftime.

The Warriors’ defense relegated the Eagles’ offense back to mediocrity in the second half. In the 71st minute of play, the Warriors scored to cut Biola’s lead down, ensuingly outshooting the Eagles 11-5 the rest of the way.

Magnificent Defense

Thankfully, the Eagles’ magnificent defense kept the Warriors from mounting another effective attack, holding them off for the final score of 2-1.

Before Tuesday, the Eagles needed to figure out their struggling offense with only six regular season games before the GSAC tournament. Tuesday’s first half served to quiet some doubters, providing a glimpse of how well the Eagles can create scoring opportunities.

A Feeble Offense

Unfortunately, until the Eagles can consistently score goals, predispositions of a feeble offense remain. The statistics do not lie. With only one month before the GSAC tournament, Biola sits last in almost every major offensive category in the conference.

“We need not to exploit our opponents’ weaknesses and instead figure out how to be better than their weaknesses—and that is what makes a good offense, stretching the defense and stretching the goalkeeper till they cannot handle the attack anymore,” said head coach Todd Elkins. “Sometimes you need bombardment in soccer and take those risks to score.”

The Oct. 1 game only augmented the worries behind Biola’s offensive shortcomings. The GSAC heavyweight Vanguard University Lions mystified the Eagles’ offense. The Lions prevailed as the tamers on defense and the attackers on offense as they outshot the Eagles 17-8, surprisingly the first time the Eagles fell behind in that category all season. Vanguard’s lone goal came off a long throw to a 50/50 win for the Lions that squeaked past junior keeper Igor Puglia. Puglia had a busy and flashy night in the net, saving a total of five shots.

Despite the Eagles’ offensive struggles, their defense continues to dominate, contributing largely to a critical victory over the Warriors and keeping the game close against the Lions.

“Our defense played really well, it is just — Vanguard’s offense is really good. They attack well, dribble past you consistently, combine around you to eventually shoot and score, and score in bunches,” Elkins said. “However, the defense remained strong and shut them down from doing that for the majority of the game.”

With a bag of mixed outcomes this week, the men remain in a heated battle in the GSAC standings, improving to 8-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

The next match will take place Saturday, Oct. 8 in El Cajon, Calif. as Biola takes on the San Diego Christian University Hawks at 7 p.m.