The Warriors refuse to lose at home.
Friday afternoon, with the sweltering sun beating down on OC Great Park, the Westcliff men’s soccer team remained undefeated on the home pitch, deadlocking nationally-ranked Arizona Christian 1-1.
“We made big improvements on the field,” Westcliff head coach Joey O’Keefe said. “If you would have told me it would be a 1-1 tie before the game, I would’ve been satisfied with that.”
But O’Keefe also recognized the fact that the Warriors spent most of Friday’s 110 minutes threatening deep in the Firestorm zone, and probably should’ve walked away with a win.
Westcliff outshot Arizona Christian 31-9.
“We took it to them, we actually should’ve had the win,” O’Keefe said. “It feels like a loss, but ultimately, the boys have big spirits. Our main concern is never losing at home, you’ve got to protect the home turf.”
Cesar Ortega ignited the Warriors just six minutes into the match when he hustled to the box and rejected keeper Matthew Ortiz’s outlet from the box, ricocheting it back into net.
Jesus Valenzuela responded for the Firestorm seven minutes later with an unassisted winner.
The rest of the game was a lopsided affair. The Warriors outshot Arizona Christian 14-2 in the second half, and 10-2 in a pair of overtime periods.
Thales Castro turned in a nice performance at midfield, and Taishi Adachi had several impressive throughs to set up teammates, although none would ultimately capitalize.
“Most importantly, we are finding guys who are stepping up,” O’Keefe said. “They are solidifying their roles on the team, and it’s making everyone push forward.
“Everyone’s looking inward at their own mistakes instead of blaming each other, and that’s exactly where you need to be at this time of the season.”
Westcliff (4-3-1) hosts La Sierra on the Championship Stadium pitch at OC Great Park Wednesday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.