The University of Redlands men's soccer team toughed out a 1-0 win in the Southern Conference Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener against Chapman University on Saturday night on Farquhar Field. After 88 minutes of scoreless action, the Bulldogs' perseverance paid off with a late goal to pick up the hard-fought victory.
During the first half, the teams orchestrated a defensive battle in every aspect of the game, with each side recording eight fouls. Offensively, the Bulldogs gained a slight edge with a 5-4 margin in shots.
In the eighth minute, senior midfielder Arman Mogharei (Hayward, CA) stole the ball at the center circle and sent a pass to junior forward Antony Chonga (San Diego, CA), who beat his defender and unleashed a bullet of a shot just left of the goal. In a similar situation in the 20th minute, Chonga sent another quality ball towards goal but it was slightly off the mark and rolled out of bounds. Due to the physical display of defense on both ends of the field, neither team had many chances to score before halftime.
The Bulldogs turned up the intensity with a sense of urgency in the second half, which produced several solid looks on goal, including one that came on a counterattack. In the 51st minute, junior defender Dylan Carlyle (San Jose, CA) pushed up for an impressive slide tackle to steal the ball and send it forward to sophomore midfielder Antonio Chavez (Santa Ana, CA). Chavez immediately beat his defender and ripped off a powerful shot that hit the crossbar and landed out of play.
The Bulldogs created another chance a few minutes later that progressed in a similar fashion. This time, Chonga took the same shot that nearly went in but bounced off the crossbar. Off the rebound, Mogharei fired off a blast that was blocked by the defense.
Chapman also produced solid shots, including a shot on goal that nearly broke the stalemate. In the 84th minute, the Panthers took a corner kick that landed in a scrum in front of the net. Chapman managed a quality header on goal, but sophomore goalkeeper Matteo DeFina (Livermore, CA) made the highlight-reel save to stifle the Panthers' efforts. Chapman earned two more corner kicks within a two-minute span, but the Bulldogs stepped up when it counted most.
After a clutch defensive stop, the Maroon and Gray marched downfield to compose its game-winning possession. The Bulldogs linked multiple passes to set up first-year midfielder Avery Jacobson (Seattle, WA) on the right flank with options in front of him. He dribbled up and gave the perfect through-ball to Mogharei, who launched a momentous shot right past the Panthers' goalkeeper for the game-winning goal.
With less than two minutes remaining, it was on the Bulldog defense to preserve the shutout. With poise and skill, the backline did just that, with Carlyle, senior defenders Joey Kenney (Portland, OR), Spencer Scott (Portland, OR), Nick DeQuiroz (San Jose, CA), and company working to keep Chapman at bay for Redlands' win.
The Maroon and Gray dominated the shot battle with a 17-11 advantage, with 12 coming in the second half. Each team made four saves and registered four corner kicks. The proof of the physical game lies in the foul total with 12 on Chapman and 11 against the Bulldogs.
Redlands (1-1-0) immediately returns to action on Sunday, September 9, against Pacific Lutheran University (WA) at 5 p.m. on Farquhar Field.