IRVINE, Calif. — Patience.
That’s what Hastings College men’s soccer coach Tim Bohnenkamp preached to his players during Tuesday’s NAIA round of 16 match against No. 3 Westmont.
“Westmont is such a good defensive team that we couldn’t rush it,” Bohnenkamp said. “We had to be patient on the ball...Opportunities were few and far for both teams, but at the end of the day we created the better ones.”
The Broncos’ patient strategy paid off with the eventual game-winning goal in the 68th minute followed by a deal-sealer 3-on-1 chance in the 90th.
Having earned a bye as the host of the final site, Westmont hadn’t played a match in the 20 days prior to Tuesday. The Warriors lost in their Golden State Athletic Conference tournament semifinal on Nov. 13 and had been off since.
Bohnenkamp admitted that the early plan was for Hastings to pressure Westmont, but after the first five minutes or so, the Broncos were to lay back and pick their chances carefully.
It worked out.
Although an early chance by Tom Steging didn’t find twine, Steging played a part in the Broncos breaking the ice.
After Henrik Hafskjold skied a ball into the Broncos’ attacking third, Francisco Lisboa settled it at the 18-yard box and eyed a lane for a strike. As it quickly closed up, Lisboa chipped a pass to an area closer to net where three Hastings kits stood.
The ball first tipped off Nicholas Cudini, then Steging, before finally landing at the feet of Lukas Goetz, who hammered it to the back of the net and gave Hastings a 1-0 lead in the 68th minute.
Westmont, which had been outshot widely to that point, awoke and took a more aggressive approach to the match.
That’s where Hastings’ defense came in. The Broncos pitched their nation-leading 15th shutout.
HC had to fend off a barrage of attacks in the final few minutes to upset the host Warriors 2-0 at OC Great Park Soccer Stadium in Irvine, Calif.
Perhaps the biggest of all the defensive saves didn’t come from keeper Jesus Parra. It came from captain Francisco Arevalo, who threw himself in front of what looked like a sure equalizer for Westmont.
“We grinded,” Bohnenkamp said. “I can’t give enough credit to Francisco Arevalo for stopping that shot. He put his body on the line and fortunately we have 23 of those types of players on this team who will put everything on the line to make sure we get the result that we want.
“They’re lions out there.”
Arevalo’s prevention led to the Broncos’ put-away goal on the other end, where Goetz galloped upfield with two teammates for a 3-on-1 opportunity. With 33 seconds remaining, Goetz beat the Westmont keeper for a second time that all but ended the match.
After a scoreless first half where the Broncos and Warriors seemed to possess the ball equally, Hastings took control in the early portion of the second stanza.
“We knew one goal was going to win the game,” Bohnenkamp said. “It was just going to be who gets it.”
The Broncos outshot Westmont all night until the final 10 minutes. The Warriors had eight of their 13 shots over the final 8 minutes, 37 seconds.
Hastings will play William Carey (Miss.). in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. CT. Wiiliam Carey beat Spring Arbor (Mich.) 2-0 Tuesday.
Bohnenkamp said the coaching staff planned on watching and scouting the Crusaders’ round of 16 game at the team hotel Tuesday night.