Claremont, Calif. - Connor Silvestri had three goals as the Hendrix Men's Soccer team defeated Pomona-Pitzer 4-0 in a non-conference game on Sunday afternoon.
Pomona-Pitzer had its three-game win streak snapped and falls to 4-4, as it played its second unit. The Sagehens were coming off a 4-1 win over Caltech 24 hours earlier and had several starters nursing injuries.
"It was important for us in a couple of ways," said head coach Bill Swartz. "Obviously we're a bit banged up and could afford to rest some guys. But you can also look at it that you have a chance to develop some more of your players. These kids have worked as hard as anyone since August 28 and have a chance to play a whole game - win, lose or draw. I did the same thing a couple of years ago against Wheaton and we lost 4-1, but some of those guys helped us win the championship the next year."
Hendrix got on the board midway through the first half when Duncan Keegan played a long through ball up the right side that put Connor Silvestri behind the Sagehen defense. Silvestri broke into the box from a sharp angle, but was able to create enough space to tuck a low shot inside the far post past Pomona-Pitzer goalkeeper Nathaniel Anderson (Bethesda, Md.).
The Sagehens had two good chances to tie early in the second half, but Gator Halpern (San Diego, Calif.) popped a 15-yarder over the bar and Harris Levin (Sacramento, Calif.) missed wide left from the top of the box. Greg Gandy then tacked on a second goal off a corner kick, when Pomona-Pitzer couldn't clear it and Gandy half-volleyed a line drive straight into the upper-left corner in the 64th minute.
The Sagehens were inches from cutting the lead to 2-1, when senior forward Owen Hawkins (Brookline, N.H. - pictured) settled the ball in the box and chipped a shot past Hendrix goalkeeper Adam Legg, but Warriors defender Ian Evans was able to race back and clear the ball off the line. Silvestri then added two more late goals to finish off the scoring, completing his hat trick from 10 yards off a give-and-go with Keegan. Halpern nearly got a late goal for Pomona-Pitzer, but cracked a 12-yarder off the left post.
"We knew that a lot of the guys weren't used to playing 90 minutes at game speed," said Swartz. "You can never replicate the intensity of a game in practice, so our coaching staff kind of figured that they could give us 60-65 quality minutes and then it would be tough down the stretch. Sure enough, that's exactly when things went wrong, and we started to lose focus clearing the ball out of our end and didn't finish when we had chances. But league play is most important, and in our league, it's a marathon and not a sprint. And if you're not healthy at the end, you aren't going to win it."
The Sagehen starters who were held out included goalkeeper Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn.), defenders Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.), Mark Raftery (Palo Alto, Calif.), Geordie Marriner (Bellingham, Wash.) and Ryan Miller (Littleton, Colo.), forwards Lawrence McDonald (Oakland, Calif.), Evan Munoz (Damien, Calif.) and Michael Ceragioli (Lake Tahoe, Calif.), and midfielders Arash Mahboubi (La Canada, Calif.), Robbie Hull (Salt Lake City, Utah), Nate Shekita (San Jose, Calif.) and Danny Nasry (Portland, Ore.).
Pomona-Pitzer will next be in action when it returns to SCIAC play with a home game against Occidental on Wednesday at 4 p.m.