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Eric Sanchez celebrates his winning goal (photo by Caelyn Smith)
Eric Sanchez celebrates his winning goal (photo by Caelyn Smith)

CMS Men's Soccer Takes 2-1 Win over La Verne in Home Opener

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Nico Monsalve tied the score with a header in the final minute of the first half, and Eric Sanchez scored the go-ahead goal on a header midway through the second half as the CMS men's soccer team came back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat La Verne 2-1 in its first home game of the 2022 season on Saturday night at Pritzlaff Field.

With the win, CMS improves to 1-2-4 on the season, using the friendly confines of Pritzlaff Field to break into the win column after four frustrating ties away from home. La Verne falls to 2-5-1 and 1-1 in the SCIAC with the loss. 

CMS appeared to be on its way to another frustrating result, after being denied four times by diving saves in the first half from La Verne goalie Matthew Logan Reese. However, just before the halftime whistle, Grant Donaldson earned a corner kick, and Lukas Huntington was able to pick out Monsalve just outside the six-yard box, who snapped in a header with 29 seconds remaining to tie the score at 1-1. 

The momentum carried into the second half, as Huntington nearly broke the tie when his 25-yard laser hit the crossbar in the 59th minute. Just four minutes later, though, Sanchez would give CMS the go-ahead goal when he headed in a ball from 10 yards out that was crossed in by defender Salvador Leon

The Stags had to withstand one nervy moment late, as La Verne was awarded a 25-yard free kick in the 89th minute. Daniel Kotkosky, who had come into the game for injured starter Kevin Box just 10 minutes before, was able to make the diving save at the near post with 1:24 to go to preserve the 2-1 win. 

CMS finished the game with a 19-10 edge in shots, including 10-3 in the second half. Box had five saves before giving way to Kotkosky, while Donaldson also had a defensive save in the first half when he cleared a ball off the line after Box had made the initial save. 

CMS will return to action on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., when it hosts Chapman in the second half of a doubleheader with the women's soccer team, which plays Chapman at 4 p.m.