The Master’s University Mustangs men’s soccer team had the exact game plan needed to combat Westmont Warriors on Saturday afternoon, with a goal just nine minutes into the game sending the Mustangs on their way to a crucial 3-1 road victory in Golden State Athletic Conference play.
“I was worried before the game that my plan was too tactical and it may cause the team to freeze up,” TMU head coach Jim Rickard said. “But they did what I asked as good as it could be done and we were rewarded with some timely finishing.”
The timely finishing began early in the first half when Prince Chingancheke intercepted a pass in the Westmont defensive third. He calmly slipped Aidan Rohde a pass toward the goal, with the senior forward slotting past the goalkeeper to give the visitors an early lead.
“Prince was in a new position and it created an early dividend when Westmont turned the ball over in their half,” Rickard said. “Prince made a perfectly timed pass to Aidan, who had a cool finish.”
Corny Miller nearly made it 2-0 with a header off a corner kick in the 30th minute, forcing an outstretched save by the Warrior goalkeeper.
After taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, Chingancheke turned from provider to scorer, bringing down a Theo Kudlo cross from the right flank and hammering it home from just inside the 18-yard box.
The goal marked a key return for Chingancheke, who has made an immediate impact with the Mustangs after missing most of the past two seasons with season-ending injuries.
He scored his first collegiate goal on Westmont’s Thorrington Field more than two years ago, in the same game in which he suffered his first season-ending injury, before finding the back of the net on that same field on Saturday.
The Warriors got a goal back in the 69th minute and began to press forward in search of an equalizer, but the Mustang back line held firm before Miller sealed the victory with a strike from the top of the box with just over six minutes remaining.
“Westmont is known for having a very stingy defense and they rarely give up goals, maybe one,” Rickard said. “We managed three excellent finishes at the best time. Each and every player was fantastic and executed the tactical plan so well. It was a team win with some perfectly timed individual brilliance.”
Master’s outshot Westmont 12-11, including 7-4 in shots on goal.
“Our mids and defenders were organized and had a lot of fight today as well,” Rickard said. “Kellen Dresdow and Peter Mackay are leading the backs well.”
TMU (5-6-1 overall, 2-2 GSAC) returned to conference play on Thursday vs. Ottawa University Arizona.