Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Soccer team had their chances Saturday night but couldn't come away with the victory at Memorial Stadium falling 1-0 to Occidental College.
The Purple & Gold needed a win in order to lock up the No. 2 seed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Tournament and a home game in the opening round. But an early goal by Occidental College proved enough to top the Poets moving them to the No. 3 seed and sending them on the road to take on the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs of the University of Redlands.
Whittier ends the 2019 regular season 8-5-2, 7-3-2 SCIAC and enter the SCIAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed. The last time the Purple & Gold earned a berth in the post season was back in 2013 when they entered as the No. 2 seed before getting upset 2-0 by Cal Lutheran University.
Prior to the game Head Coach Shea Harwell recognized his six seniors who took part in their final home game. These seniors included Devin De Leon-Dowd (Santa Fe, NM), Erik Dimas (Pomona, Calif.), Ethan Fletcher (Fort Collins, CO), Sam Johnson (Sammamish, WA), Matteo Loi (Kirkland, WA), and RayRay Roberson (Albuquerque, NM).
Saturday night the lone goal scored in the 3rd minute came off the foot of Joey Schwartz who finished off a pair of connected passes from Marcus Blumenfeld and Miles Robertson. Whittier managed only three shots in the opening half with one on frame coming from Banks Telkamp (Seattle, WA). Out of the break the Poets punished the goal with four shots coming in the opening five minutes. Loi unleashed on one on top of the box, which was saved by Oxy keeper Scott Drazan. The ensuing corner kick would find the head of Loi in the box, but his look would end up wide. The next time down the field, Roberson had his first look but he also sent his wide. The last attempt in the sequence came from Telkamp who ripped a low shot into the box but his look would end up getting blocked.
The pressure continued to build for the Purple & Gold late in the half. They had two final looks for the equalizer across the final two minutes but both strikes from Loi and Telkamp would end up getting blocked allowing Oxy to come away with the road victory.
Whittier outshot Occidental 10-7 with seven coming in the second half. The Poets also held the advantage on corner kicks at 5-3 with a trio of them coming across the final 45:00 minutes. Between the posts Teddy Nickerson (Seattle, WA) played all 90:00 minutes and finished with three saves.
Whittier travels this Wednesday, November 6 when they go take on the University of Redlands in the semi-finals of the SCIAC Post Season Tournament. Game time set for 7:00pm. These two teams met only once on the season with the Poets prevailing 1-0 on the road.