COSTA MESA, Calif. - Eight games into the 2012 season, the Vanguard men's soccer team has learned a lot about perseverance. Until Saturday's match with Cal State San Marcos, most of the team's lessons have dealt with how to respond when things don't fall in line, despite desire and strong efforts. In the 95th minute of the Lions' nonconference battle with the Cougars, however, the diligence paid off, as VU took down CSUSM 1-0 in sudden death overtime.
"I feel that our guys fought really hard all night," Associate Head Coach Jesus Miramontes said. "We kept our composure and kept on grinding. This was a great way to end our preseason. These guys were warriors tonight. They played a ton of minutes and they were rewarded in the end. As a coaching staff, we couldn't be more proud of our guys."
The contest between the Lions and Cougars was an all-out cat fight from the beginning. The Pride found itself in a familiar position, locked in a scoreless stalemate on its home field against a physical opponent. Though exhausted from depleted numbers, the Blue and Gold refused to back down, and appeared to gain momentum as the bout progressed.
In overtime, Vanguard rattled off four shots in less than five minutes, three of which came in a chaotic span of eight seconds. Freshman Kelvin Fares (Mesa, Ariz.) was the instigator of the madness. He found himself in the middle of the box and footed a laser-beam, which was somehow blocked by CSUSM freshman goalkeeper Landon Sherwood (Coto De Caza, Calif.). The next Lion to contribute to the mayhem was freshman Brandon Castle (Laguna Hills, Calif.) who fought to rebound the ball, which was bouncing around the box like a pinball, and got another solid shot off that was somehow blocked again. Several touches later, the soccer ball found its way to junior Andrew Sullivan (Huntington Beach, Calif.) who roofed one to secure the sudden death victory for his team.
"Teamwork and hard work are what got us this victory tonight," Sullivan said. "Faith in God and faith in each other were the determining factors in the match."
The Pride held the advantage in corner kicks, setting up seven while CSUSM just took one in the match. Vanguard also edged the Cougars in shots, 12-9.
Freshman Luca Licciardi (Sparks, Nev.) earned the shutout win in goal. He recorded two saves for VU. Sherwood garnered four saves for the Cougars.
Castle and Sullivan registered two and three shots, respectively, and two shots on goal apiece. Sophomore Luis Valdivia (Oceanside, Calif.) took two shots of his own, and classmate Carlos Correa (Santa Ana, Calif.) posted the Lions fifth shot on goal of the night.
With the win, VU improves to 2-5-1.
Vanguard will open up Golden State Athletic Conference play on Wednesday, September 26th at Westmont. The match will begin at 3:00pm.