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Vanguard has balloon popped by Eagles

SOCCER: Lions men control tempo against Concordia, but fail to score as seven-game win streak is snapped.

October 05, 2006|By Dominic Perrone

COSTA MESA — Outplaying the opponent in soccer does not always equate to a notch in the win column.

The Vanguard men's team chalked up a lesson instead of a victory in a 1-0 loss to Concordia University Wednesday.

The Lions were riding a seven-game win streak, allowing one goal, heading into the Golden State Athletic Conference contest. They also had earned a No. 11 ranking in the NAIA early Wednesday.

The teams were supposed to play Tuesday, but due to a lack of officials the game was postponed to Wednesday.

"It's tough to keep a win streak like that going," midfielder Brian Vestal said. "We just didn't execute well. It was a sloppy game."

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Vanguard controlled the ball and the pace throughout the game, but opportunities did not end with a goal.

"We dominated play," Vanguard Coach Randy Dodge said. "You can dominate from 18 to 18, but we didn't take chances. We needed a different mind set, someone to take the courage to take those chances."

Instead, it was the Eagles who took advantage of one of a handful of chances to score. And the Lions were left wondering how it would feel to defeat the defending conference champions.

The proverbial blow came in the 36th minute. That's when Concordia freshman Jon Fahey took a pass from Ryan Ninke, the Eagles' lone senior, and popped it over two defenders before meeting the ball on the other side to poke it into the net past goalkeeper William Johnson, who was the GSAC Player of the Week after holding two teams scoreless in the Lions' two previous games.

Vanguard junior defender Jeffrey Cocca, as the rest of the Lions, saw the opportunity to make a statement become obsolete.

Still, Cocca wasn't totally impressed with the Eagles.

"That was their one chance," Cocca said. "To be honest, we controlled most of the game. They caught a lucky break and we couldn't finish our chances."

With the defeat, the Lions (8-2, 2-1 in conference) fell out of a tie for first place in the conference.

It was Vanguard's first loss since falling 1-0 on Sept. 8 to Cumberlands of Kentucky.

"This was our worst game of the season," Dodge said. "These guys haven't lost since the first week of the season."

Having defeated No. 12-ranked Fresno Pacific, 1-0, in the previous game made the loss all the more difficult.

"Fresno was a much better team," Cocca said. "They had a better front line. Beating Fresno was big for us."

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