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Munivez lifts men’s soccer over Sharks

The sophomore’s first collegiate goal gave the Eagles a crucial conference victory.  |  Caleb Raney/THE CHIMES

 

Sophomore defender Jake Munivez played the hero on Oct. 11, scoring a golden goal in double overtime to give men’s soccer a 1-0 victory over the Hawaii Pacific University Sharks. The Eagles remain undefeated in PacWest play at home after coming out on top of a game in which scoring opportunities proved few and far between.

Slow start by both teams

Both teams started out slowly on offense, with no shot taken on either side until the 13th minute. HPU faked out senior goalkeeper Igor Puglia after a scramble in the box two minutes later and had seemed ready to capitalize, but Sharks defender Christopher Galang’s shot missed just wide.

Biola pressed in the 26th and 28th minutes, creating two corner kick opportunities. Head coach Todd Elkins shook up his team’s strategy on corners, with senior defender Clayton Mohler kicking the ball in for junior midfielder Kousei Mattox, who had been in Mohler’s role for the past several games. The experiment proved futile, as HPU goalkeeper Daniel Aroll saved one of Mattox’s shots while the other one was shanked well above the goal.

In the second half, the Sharks generated plenty of offensive pressure but could not convert on a goal. Biola’s defense came through with two blocks early in the half and Puglia added a diving stop in the 66th minute to barely save an HPU header. The veteran goalie finished with five saves for his fifth shutout of the season.

“That was a really good game from [Puglia],” Elkins said. “He’s had other games where he’s had to make more saves and deal with more crosses, but I just thought his focus was really good all game. There were no lapses in concentration.”

First collegiate goal in dramtic fashion

The Eagles pressed more on offense as the half went on but mistimed several cross passes that could have resulted in goals. Biola only managed two shots in the entire half, both by senior midfielder Jarrett Pugh. Regulation time ended with the game still in a scoreless tie, forcing overtime.

“We weren’t making great runs in unison with each other,” Elkins said. “It was very isolated and easier for them to defend.”

Biola finally created a corner opportunity in the second overtime and Elkins sent Mattox out to his usual spot to kick the ball in. That set up Munivez, who earned his first collegiate goal in the most dramatic way possible, heading the ball into the right corner of the net to give the Eagles a victory.

“I mean, Kousei always whips in perfect balls, so I was like, ‘Alright… I just gotta be in the right spot,’” Munivez said. “He kicks it, I see it, I’m like, ‘I better just head this in.’”

The Eagles improve to 5-5-1 on the season (4-2 PacWest). They once again host a Hawaii team at Al Barbour Field on Oct. 14, as conference play continues against Chaminade University.

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