Redlands, Calif. – Charlws Izydorek scored on a scramble off a corner kick late in the first half as the top-seeded Redlands Men's Soccer team captured a 3-0 win over Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC Semifinals on Wednesday evening.
Redlands, which finished 14-0 in the SCIAC during the regular season, improves to 18-3 on the year and moves on the conference championship game on Saturday, when it will host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Pomona-Pitzer sees its season end at 10-9.
The game-winner came on a corner kick that bounced around in the box for a few seconds, before Izydorek was able to shake free and head the ball in from in close with just 1:54 left in the first stanza to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Senior goalkeeper Nathaniel Anderson (Bethesda, Md.) started in place of regular starter Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn.), who suffered an injury in practice on Sunday and was unavailable. Anderson performed well, making five saves to keep the Sagehens in striking distance, but Alex Laughton was able to stretch the lead to 2-0 on a goal with 18:56 left in regulation on a one-timer off a long throw-in and put a damper on any Sagehen comeback hopes.
Before the second goal, the Sagehens created several chances early in the second half as it probed for an equalizer. After being held to only one shot attempt in the first half, Pomona-Pitzer took five shots in the first 20 minutes of the second half, with freshman Arash Mahboubi (La Canada, Calif.) taking three and sophomore Michael Ceragioli (Incline Village, Nev. - pictured) taking two.
Redlands goalkeeper Jason Smuckler was called on to make one save (on a Ceragioli shot) before the Bulldogs seized the momentum back and got the insurance goal in the 72nd minute to make it 2-0. The Sagehens took three shots in the next six minutes to frantically try to get back in it, but Redlands got a third goal from Cody Carlson, in the 78th minute to seal it.
Redlands finished with a 21-10 edge in shots, while Smuckler had three saves to get the shutout. Anderson had six saves in his final collegiate contest.
Despite the loss, the future looks strong for the Sagehens, as they started six freshmen down the stretch of the 2011 season and graduates nobody off of their usual starting 11. The team's four seniors - Anderson, Alec Halpern (San Diego, Calif.), Evan Munoz (Upland, Calif.) and Owen Hawkins (Hollis, N.H.) - all had key roles for the Sagehens this year, though, so there will be some holes to fill on next season's squad.