Riverside, CA - Playing their season finale, the Golden Eagles men's soccer team came out an inspired group this afternoon, as they played host to No. 17 Embry-Riddle University. Prior to the match the team paid tribute to their six seniors; Sid Dube, Wade Dixon, Cole King, Peter Marinez, Ruben Solis, and Anthony Trevino. Determined to send these senior off on a good note, a goal in the final minutes propelled the Golden Eagles to a 4-3 win.
La Sierra jumped out of the gates to take the early lead when Roman Santiago scored unassisted in the 23rd minute, on a 40-yard shot that sailed over the goalkeeper's outstretched arm. Kenneth Henry pushed the lead to 2-0, when he scored on a shot from 20-years out, unassisted in the 35th minute. But the Golden Eagles weren't done. In the 39th minute, Roman Santiago scored his second unassisted goal of the match, punching the ball over the goalkeeper's head, taking a 3-0 lead into halftime.
Embry-Riddle came out of the half determined to make a game out of things. They picked up the pace of play and it paid off midway through the second half. Gage Palmer found the back of the net in the 60th minute to trim the lead to two goals. Embry-Riddle kept the pressure on, scoring their second goal in the 65th minute on a goal by Jacob John Brech, assisted by Isaac Sanchez. Just one minute later, Isaac Sanchez scored unassisted, erasing a three-goal deficit, and tying the score at 3-3.
With Embry-Riddle riding the way of momentum the Golden Eagles re-grouped and began to apply some pressure of the own, resulting is scoring chances. Finally, with less than two minutes to play Sid Dube found some space on the right wing, shooting the ball toward the goal. The ball slipped under the sprawling Embry-Riddle goalkeeper and was slowly rolling wide of the net. But an alert, Bryan Gutierrez followed the play in, on the left wing, redirecting it into the goal for the game-winner.
La Sierra finishes their season at 8-8-1 with the win. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles narrowly missed qualifying for the AII Conference playoffs. Thus, the 2012 men's soccer season comes to an end. Coach Jesse Olivas and his staff will begin looking towards next season and filling the voids left by the six seniors. Please check back in the coming days for a men's soccer season recap.
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