FULLERTON, Calif. - Saturday's Golden State Athletic Conference match between Vanguard and Hope International was tight all the way through, but in the end the Lions triumphed, defeating the Royals 2-1 in overtime.
Eight minutes in to the first period junior defender Josh Banta (Huntington Beach, Calif.) went to set up a free kick from the 65-yard line and noticed HIU's goaltender Jhovany Hernandez well outside of the box. He quickly called an audible for senior Sam Nicholson (London, England) to set up the ball, and blasted a shot over Hernandez's head to put the Lions up 1-0.
"It was great to score my first goal for Vanguard in a big game on the road," Banta said. "I saw the keeper off his line and I was able to hit one from really deep. This was a huge game for us and it was great to get our second GSAC victory."
Mario Perez put Hope on the board 19:32 later. Edgar Bran brought the ball down the field and dished it to Perez in the middle who was able to slip one by Vanguard's freshman keeper Luca Licciardi (Sparks, Nev.) to even the score at 1-1.
With just under 20 minutes remaining in regulation, senior Kyle O'Brien (Garden Grove, Calif.) found himself in a familiar situation, lining up for a penalty kick that could give his squad the lead in a big GSAC game. Hernandez, however, had other ideas, and made up for his earlier botch by stopping O'Brien's attempt.
In overtime, O'Brien responded. He came down the left side of the pitch with the ball and sent a perfect cross to the middle at 97:37. The pass found VU junior Andrew Sullivan (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who used his head to dial in his second sudden death overtime goal of the year.
The Lions outshot the Royals by the slimmest margin (11-10) in the contest.
Vanguard has won three straight. All three competitions were decided by a single goal and two of the victories occurred in overtime. The Lions sit at 4-5-1 overall and 2-0 in GSAC play. Hope drops to 6-4 on the year and 0-2 in conference.
The Lions will host San Diego Christian on October 3rd at 6:00pm. Fans who attend the match will receive a free set of Lions' soccer schedule magnets. Westmont is Hope International's next test. The Royals will take on the Warriors in Santa Barbara on October 2nd at 3:00pm.