Sagehens Win Ninth Straight, On Verge Of SCIAC Title

Sagehens Win Ninth Straight, On Verge Of SCIAC Title

Claremont, Calif. - Junior forward Ryan Miller (Centennial, Colo. - pictured) had his second game-winning goal in the last five days, breaking a 0-0 tie with 19:13 left as the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Soccer team defeated Redlands 1-0 on Monday evening in a battle for first place in the SCIAC.

Pomona-Pitzer extended its winning streak to nine games (dating back to a tie with Redlands on Sept. 24), while snapping Redlands' winning streak at seven games.

The Sagehens also improve to 12-4-1 overall and 11-2-1 in the SCIAC, and need to win just one of its last two games to clinch the SCIAC title and the top seed in the conference tournament - at Caltech on Wednesday or at home against La Verne on Saturday. Redlands falls to 10-3-2 in the SCIAC with the loss, and would need to win at Whittier on Saturday and have Pomona-Pitzer lose both games to take the regular season crown.

Miller, who had one career goal as of five days ago (in his freshman year against Cal Lutheran) had a diving header for the winning goal with 2:19 left in the second overtime against Whittier on Monday, but ended up with an easier finish for his game-winning goal this time. Senior defender Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.) set the play up with a long throw-in that bounced around inside the six-yard box. Sophomore forward Avery Raimondo (Quogue, N.Y.) was first to the loose ball and sent a low shot towards goal, and Miller was in the perfect place in the goalmouth to tap it home and give the Sagehens the 1-0 lead.

Senior goalkeeper Rollie Thayer (Shorewood, Minn.) helped the Sagehen defense preserve the lead down the stretch, as Redlands threatened on several occasions. With just over a minute left, the Bulldogs had a 20-yard free kick that was blocked by the Pomona-Pitzer wall, but Brad Jackson got the rebound and sent a low shot at Thayer that he was able to go down to save.

With the final 10 seconds counting off the loudspeaker, Charles Izydorek sent a bending shot towards the near post with a Redlands player crashing in front, but Thayer smothered the shot and did not allow a rebound as he was able to stay on the ground with the ball until the final seconds elapsed.

Pomona-Pitzer controlled much of the game, finishing with a 20-14 edge in shots, an advantage which was 14-5 at one point. Sophomore forward Lawrence McDonald (Oakland, Calif.) hit the crossbar in the first half after the ball was tipped by Redlands goalkeeper Andreas Silva (four saves).

The Sagehens travel to winless Caltech on Wednesday with a chance to wrap up the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament and make its final home game against La Verne meaningless for the conference standings. Pomona-Pitzer will host one SCIAC semifinal next Thursday (Nov. 1) against an opponent to be determined, while the highest remaining seed hosts the finals on Saturday, Nov. 3.