One team had nothing to lose, the other had everything to win. Nevertheless, both of Cal Lutheran’s soccer teams wound up with conference victories Wednesday.
The CLU men’s team knocked off Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Claremont-Mudd, 2-1, in overtime at CLU while the women where posting a 3-1 road win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
With the NCAA Division III soccer committee scheduled to announce its postseason tournament pairings Sunday, both CLU teams took the field hoping to impress the selectors. But the men also needed a win to reach the top of the SCIAC standings. CLU, 12-1 in conference play and 13-4-1 overall, is tied for first place with Claremont (14-4 overall, 12-1). CLU will close its conference season on the road Saturday against Caltech; Claremont will play at Whittier.
The CLU women (15-3, 12-0) faced no such pressure, having clinched the SCIAC title with a win over La Verne last Saturday. But the win over Claremont (11-5-1, 9-2-1 and second in the SCIAC) in its final conference match clearly established Cal Lutheran’s dominance in the conference.
The men not only had to beat Claremont on Wednesday, they had to do it in the darkness. And they did both by the narrowest of margins.
Espen Hosoien, a 6-foot-4, 237-pound defender, beat Claremont goalie Tyler Snow with less than 45 seconds to play in the second overtime. Hosoien’s goal came as darkness descended.
Willie Ruiz, who scored the Kingsmen’s first goal, set up the match-winner by heading the ball downfield for Hosoien. The CLU defender soon found himself matched in a one-on-one situation with Snow and beat the goalie by inches, pushing the ball into the lower-right corner of the net.
Ruiz’s goal at 30 minutes 45 seconds of the first half followed another one-on-one duel with Snow. This time Ruiz waited until the last moment, then chipped the ball high over Snow’s head. The ball bounced, then hit the top of the net under the crossbar.
Ruiz’s 18th goal of the season tied him with James Tate for the school single-season record. Ruiz was the team’s high scorer last year as a freshman when he scored 14 times.
Claremont scored its goal with just 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Corwin Senko’s corner kick produced a chaotic situation in front of the net and Matt Compton took advantage of the confusion and knocked the ball past Cal Lutheran goalie Ed Guerricabetia.
The Kingsmen outshot Claremont, 23-3, in the emotional match, in which five yellow cards and two red cards were awarded.
The women’s match was closer than the score suggests, with Cal Lutheran outshooting Claremont just 15-10.
But three of those shots counted. One that found its mark came from Rachel Wackerman, who scored her 30th goal on an assist from Vanessa Martin, equaling her school single-season record set last year. With 60 goals in 35 matches, Wackerman is just three goals shy of moving into 10th place on the International Soccer Assn. of America career list.
Heidi Ramage, with an assist from Wackerman, and Danielle Deyarmond, with help from Paige Durivage, scored the other CLU goals.