For defending Pacific West Conference Champion California Baptist University, it got a heavy dose of it in its 2012 conference opener. After the first half hour, the Lancers were up against it.
Down 2-0, though, it was the Lancers who stayed calm, cool and collected and took advantage of a second-half implosion by Fresno Pacific in coming all the way back for what could turn out to be a massive 4-2 road win over the Sunbirds Thursday night.
"We made significant defensive mistakes out of the gate and they exploited them," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden. "But I'm pleased with the resiliency to keep fighting and drag ourselves out of it. The guys worked as a team to fight from two goals down."
The win moves the Lancers to 3-1-1 overall, 1-0-0 (3 points) PacWest.
The Sunbirds fall to 2-2-0, 0-1-0 (0 points).
Cole Schmit put the game-winner away in the 81st minute off an assist from Dominic Escalera, capping off a spectacular outburst where the Lancers, who were armed with a two-man advantage, scored three times in a 18-minute span turning what seemed like an impending defeat into a route.
"We know we have the quality to score goals," said Jorden. "We started to apply pressure, turn the screws and began finding channels and gaps and dictating the tempo. We had to work hard for this one."
CBU got three goals from first-time goal scorers, including two from Alex Anderson, making the most of a two-man advantage for the final 34 minutes. The Lancers scored three times in the final 21 minutes after Fabricio Nazare was sent off with the Sunbirds' second red card in an eight-minute span despite leading 2-1 at the time.
Anderson equalized in the 69th minute when he picked up a defensive miscue by the Sunbirds and buried it for his first goal of the year to draw the Lancer level. His second goal, a breakaway in the 87th minute, iced it.
The Lancers out-shot the Sunbirds 13-4 in the second half.
The first break came in the 49th minute when FPU's Gustavo Silva was sent off with a straight red card. Eight minutes later, Nazare joined him, flipping the game on its head.
Fresno Pacific's Paul Islas wasted little time, scoring just 3:49 in after getting behind the defense on a breakaway. The Sunbirds doubled the lead on a goal by Nazare in the 32nd minute and seemed in full control until Escalera cut the deficit in half less than eight minutes later with his first collegiate goal off an assist from Marc Hope in the 40th minute.
"Dominic's goal made a big difference," said Jorden. "It settled us and gave us a little bit of a boost and dragged us back into the game. We weren't sharp enough to that point and he took a great chance and had a quality finish and it buoyed us."
It was the first time CBU had allowed two goals in the past 11 games, and last year, the Lancers were 0-3 when allowing two goals. Not tonight.