PASADENA, Calif. – On a blazing hot afternoon, Caltech opened its soccer season with a well-played match against Hope International. Though Hope took the contest 2-0, the Beavers played a terrific team game and executed several inspiring sequences.
As the match began, Caltech's offense was organized and held possessions well, but it was the Beavers' defense that stopped any sort of rhythm for Hope. The home team kept the opposition at a distance, thanks in large part to the Beaver backs.
"Our backs played stellar," said head coach Rolando Uribe. "And JD was great in goal."
JD Feist, the sophomore goalkeeper for Caltech, tallied 9 saves on the afternoon.
Hope took 23 shots, but Uribe came away very happy and hopeful.
"It was a great 90 minutes of soccer," he said. "We have a great foundation heading into SCIAC play."
Hope didn't score until Mario Perez converted a double header off a corner kick in the 41st minute of the first half.
Down 1-0 at halftime, the Beavers continued to battle and produced several exciting moments in the second half.
"We connected well and had several good sequences," added Uribe. "We had three great counters and if we score on one of those, the game is even."
Caltech's Evren Gokcen almost equalized the match with about 23 minutes left to play, but it just missed. The Beavers defense continued its solid effort even though Hope scored again on a mishit at 82:28.
According to Uribe, this was the best Caltech has looked in an opener in years. Two Caltech players, Chris Haack and Bobby Sanchez, made their first collegiate starts and the team's fitness was at a higher level than in previous seasons.
"I was very happy with the effort," said Uribe.
Caltech travels to SOKA on September 3 in its first road contest, and then hosts Cal Lutheran on September 10 in the first conference match of 2014.