Right On Time, Mustangs Finish Early and Late
October 12, 2013
Santa Clarita, Calif. -- For a team that had been playing much-improved ball and had little to show for it recently, Saturday afternoon's 3-0 whipping of Hope International came right on time for The Master's College.
The much-needed win, snapping a three-match losing streak, gave the Mustangs their first GSAC victory of the season and their first shutout as they improved to 1-3 in conference play and 2-7-1 overall.
Following last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of Arizona Christian, TMC head coach Jim Rickard said, "We are playing very good soccer but not finishing and making mistakes that keep costing us goals."
They had no such trouble Saturday on Reese Field and it started early. Just 5:22 into the match, Jorge Serrano (Sylmar, CA) took a pass from Zach Klindworth (Valencia, CA) and put it by Royal goalie Sergio Paz for an early 1-0 lead. It was Serrano's fourth goal of the season.
However, the Royals, seeking their first conference win of the season, too, didn't fold up and go home. If it wasn't for the Mustang defense and keeper Kyle Cunningham (Saugus, CA), that slightest of leads might have disappeared.
During a six-minute stretch (14:29-20:17) in the first half, the Royals put a lot of pressure on the Mustang goal, getting off four shots, including one that caromed off the post and two others that were turned back by Cunningham.
That seemed to take the offensive wind out of the Royals who didn't get off a shot the final 24-plus minutes of the first half, one in which both squads put three shots on goal.
Both sides had opportunities during the first 20 minutes of the second stanza but both Paz and Cunningham were up to their tasks, turning away shots as the Mustangs clung to the narrowest of advantages.
After that, it turned into a battle for field possession until the match's 84th minute when local product Austin Rochow (Canyon Country, CA) gave his club what Rickard called a "real spark", creating a great finish off another Klindworth pass at the 83:03 mark to double the Mustang advantage. It was Rochow's second goal of the year.
And, Rochow wasn't finished. The sophomore returned the favor to Klindworth in the match's final minute, setting up the freshman for his team-high sixth goal of the year with just six ticks left on the clock. With his four-point day, Klindworth also leads the squad with 16 points.
Cunningham collected his second (2-3) win of the campaign in his first GSAC appearance, collecting seven saves along the way.
Calling it a "must-win game", Rickard said that he was "very pleased with his team's total effort."
In search of their second win in a row, the Mustangs hit the road next Wednesday (Oct. 16) when they play Vanguard at Biola University in La Mirada.