The University of Redlands men's soccer team captured a 2-1 overtime victory against the visiting Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon on Farquhar Field. The Senior-Day victory secured the No. 2 seed in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the Bulldogs.
After honoring its eight seniors during a pregame ceremony, Redlands came out with pace and intensity, as senior midfielder Vidal Ornelas (Corona, CA) nearly scored with a strike that bounced off the Kingsmen's goalkeeper and out of bounds in the third minute. The counter on the ensuing corner kick proved costly, as CLU scored on a through-ball into the box less than 20 seconds later.
Senior forward Kayvon Parsa (West Hills, CA) attempted to answer in the subsequent minutes by blasting a bender into the lower, far post, but the Kingsmen goalkeeper made a quality save. Much of the Bulldogs' offense in the first half came off corner kicks, in which they led with a 7-0 margin by the final whistle.
In the 42nd minute, first-year forward Steve Acuña (Pico Rivera, CA) launched a corner kick into the box, where sophomore midfielder Collin ChubbFertal (Eugene, OR) got a foot on it but missed just wide. In the next minute, first-year midfielder Avery Jacobson (Seattle, WA) garnered a good look on goal, but his shot sailed high.
In the second half, the roles reversed and Redlands quickly scored the equalizer just four minutes in. After working the left flank, Acuña fed a direct pass to Parsa in the box. Once he settled the ball, he calmly struck it in behind the goalkeeper to tie it up at one apiece.
While possessing the ball continually, the Bulldogs tested the Kingsmen defense with increased pressure. On two consecutive chances in the 78th minute, Acuña produced a pair of promising shots, but they both sailed high. Crafty passing from the Bulldogs created another quality opportunity in the 84th minute when junior forward Antony Chonga (San Diego, CA) and senior midfielder Arman Mogharei (Hayward, CA) played a nice two-man game through the middle of the field. Mogharei released a blast that was saved by the goalkeeper.
With the Kingsmen in possession with 20 seconds to go in regulation, junior goalkeeper Noah Natividad (San Diego, CA) faced a challenging shot from a few yards out. CLU sent a cross into the box for a header, but Natividad made an incredible game-saving stop to ultimately send the game into overtime.
After the teams traded scoring chances, the intensity level continued to rise, resulting in more contact as the teams worked to close in on a win. However, CLU was issued a red card in the 94th minute, which set up the Maroon and Gray's winning possession. Seven seconds after the Kingsman was booked, Chonga sent a free kick into the box, where Parsa gathered it and let loose on a close-range attempt. The goalkeeper stopped the shot but it rebounded right back to Parsa, who immediately flicked the ball up and into the middle of the box to ChubbFertal, who was there to knock it in on a header for the exciting, game-winning goal.
With the victory, Redlands (13-4-0, 11-3-0 SCIAC) secures the No. 2 seed for the SCIAC Postseason Tournament and will host No. 3 Occidental College on Thursday, November 1, at 7 p.m.