THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The California Lutheran University men's soccer team nearly erased a three-goal deficit Saturday afternoon at William Rolland Stadium, but their furious comeback fell just short in their 3-2 defeat to Redlands.
UR held the advantage in shots (15-11) and corner kicks (11-9), as the visitors came out lively on the attack. They managed to win nine corners in the first half alone.
The Bulldogs were on the front foot from the start, netting three goals in the first 12 minutes of the match. The first goal came from the second of back-to-back corners while the second goal came from a nice cross in open play. A third goal came from some impressive dribbling by Derrin Valeri, who used a ball roll to get past the goalkeeper and then finish his chance into the back of the net.
The Kingsmen were resilient, however, and quickly made adjustments to get back into the game. CLU sent more players forward and pressed in an attempt to win the ball high up the pitch.
The hosts earned a key goal before the halftime whistle when Matt Myers found himself one-on-one with a defender before he unselfishly slipped a ball to Adrian Graciano who confidently took his right footed shot and blasted it across goal and into the back of the net to get a goal back for his team.
With more time to regroup after halftime, Cal Lutheran continued to adjust to grab a foothold in the match.
Antonio Welch took over between the posts and was impressive making four saves on the day including a clutch one-on-one save in the 55th minute to keep his team in the game.
In the 59th minute, Myers had an opportunity to score and bring the hosts closer to finding an equalizer when a cross found his right foot on the back post, but his shot would sail just high.
CLU made their presence felt in the 74th minute when a ball was bouncing in a dangerous area and Ryan Fraye tried his luck with a volley from the right side of the box. The sophomore struck it sweetly and the ball flew into the top left corner of the net to bring the Kingsmen within one goal.
The final 15 minutes were hotly contest as the hosts were scrambling to find an equalizing goal and send the game to overtime. Cards were flying all over the pitch as Redlands picked up three yellow cards in the second half while the Kingsmen were showed two of their own.
Despite Cal Lutheran's efforts to level the score, UR did well to defend in the dying minutes and would hang on for the 3-2 victory.
Cal Lutheran gets back to action Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. when the Kingsmen head back on the road to take on Whittier.
Box Score: CLU 2, UR 3
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director