LA MIRADA, Calif. --- It wasn't quite an official golden goal situation when Stephen Tanquary scored on a breakaway with just three minutes to play, but it did punch the Eagles' golden ticket to their second Golden State Athletic Conference tournament championship game in three years.
Tanquary's goal broke a 1-1 tie late to give No. 20 Biola the 2-1 win over Westmont in the GSAC semifinal.
It was clear from early on that Westmont had paid attention to the Eagles' style of play in their 4-1 loss to Biola earlier in the year, because the Warriors came out looking the better team throughout the majority of the first half.
They picked up the first score of the match in the 22nd minute when Sean Siemens scored on a breakaway from just five yards out. The senior midfielder netted his fourth of the year and put many of the nearly 500 fans in the stands in a sweat.
"It was so different from the game we played last time we saw these guys, and we knew it would be," said Head Coach Todd Elkins. "Last time we played, we got the early lead and then extended it, but this time they made it a lot tougher for us to break through. All game long their defending was very tough."
Being down in a game is not something that the men's soccer squad has been accustomed to, as the Eagles had won five straight matches via shutout entering the day. The Siemens goal gave them their first opportunity, for better or worse, to play from behind in 472 minutes of play.
Biola had to find some way to figure out how to break through the Warriors difficult and solid group defending, and that chance came immediately before halftime, when Kevin Kiser found Daniel Chew off a long free kick and Chew redirected the ball into the net to knot the semifinal match at one going into the locker rooms.
All remained even coming out the break, and everyone at the match was preparing for the possibility of overtime and another postseason round of penalty kicks, but then, with just three minutes and 18 seconds to play, Tanquary found his big break and put Biola in the drivers seat.
"It makes sense looking back at the game how our goals happened, on a free kick deflection and off a late counterattack breakaway," said Elkins. "I was not sure if, or how, they were going to come today because of the way they were defending."
The win helps the Eagles improve to 14-3-1 on the season and earns them a spot in the GSAC championship match next Saturday at Concordia, the two-time defending conference champion.