El Cajon, Calif.—A pair of second half goals proved to be enough for the San Diego Christian men's soccer team on Saturday afternoon, as the Hawks advanced to the Golden State Athletic Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over the Biola Eagles.
San Diego Christian improves to 12-4-1 on the season. The Eagles, last season's GSAC tournament champions, end their season 11-7-1.
"It was a great win for the program," said SDCC head coach Carlos Calderson. "Biola has such a rich tradition, including winning the conference tournament last season, and we knew they would be prepared and the game would be tough."
"We played well, the guys fought hard, and we were able to come out on top."
The first half saw both teams come out firing, with neither team finding the net. Biola had an excellent opportunity in the 26th minute, when Joey O'Keefe fired a shot from just inside the box that drilled the right post. San Diego Christian was stymied by Biola goalkeeper Joshua Crichton, who collected six first half saves to keep the game scoreless heading into intermission.
Just minutes into the second half, the Hawks had a golden opportunity when the Eagles were called for a handball in the box to set up a penalty kick. Hawks' senior midfielder Justin Picou set up for the shot and fired a ball to the right of the goal. Crichton dove to his left and batted the ball off the post in an amazing save to keep San Diego Christian out of the goal.
The Hawks finally broke the scoreless tie at the 72:11 mark when Victor Flores connected with Emmanual Onywera down the left side of the field. Onywera collected the ball in stride and drilled a shot into the back right of the net to push San Diego Christian up 1-0.
The Hawks struck again minutes later, when Onywera again scored on a similar run as his first goal. This time it was Eduardo Medina connecting with the senior forward down the left. Onywera brought the ball down, quickly moved to his left and fired a shot past Chrichton to give the Hawks a 2-0 cushion at the 76:21 mark.
Biola immediately responded, when the Eagles' Kevin Kiser connected with Sava Pantic just outside the box. Pantic promptly placed the ball over San Diego Christian goalkeeper Alex Cozzi to cut the lead in half 2-1 at 77:09.
Both teams continued to attack, but saves by Chrichton kept the lead at 2-1 and two saves from Cozzi in the final three minutes sealed the victory for the Hawks.
San Diego Christian outshot Biola 19-17, including 10-4 in shots on goal. Crichton and Cozzi both played all 90 minutes in goal. Crichton had 9 saves while Cozzi had 3.
The Hawks travel to Irvine to battle No. 7-ranked Concordia on Saturday, November 10 at 12:00 pm. The Eagles defeated the Hawks 4-3 on October 6.
"Concordia is an exceptional team," added Calderson. "They are well coached and they will come out hungry after falling in the conference title game last year. It is always a fun game for our guys because many of our players grew up playing with and against a number of players from Concordia."