RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Willie Rupert buried his fourth penalty kick of the year in the 83rd minute, and California Baptist University outlasted Trinity Lutheran 2-1 Thursday in the semifinals of the NCCAA West Regional Tournament.
The win puts the Lancers (14-5) into the finals where they will host The Master's Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner of the that game earns the region's automatic bid to the NCCAA National Championships Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Eagles' season comes to a close at 12-5-1.
CBU scored early and then had to battle through some pretty stiff adversity against a Trinity Lutheran team that was whistled for 22 fouls, drew four cautions and a straight red card in the final minutes after Rupert's game winner.
"I'm proud of the way the guys battled through an adverse situation," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden. "They handled themselves well and got through a difficult contest."
With the game tied 1-1, PacWest Freshman of the Year Michael Salazar was taken down in the box, drawing a penalty kick with seven minutes left. Rupert, an All-PacWest second team selection, stepped in and drilled his PK into the back of the net to remain perfect on the season in four attempts.
The Lancers killed the final seven minutes but not without having to battle through even more difficulty when just 1:27 from the final whistle, Jonathan Garcia was taken out on a vicious and blatant tackle that drew a straight red card from the referee.
"I thought we managed the game well and did a good job of battling all the way to the end," said Jorden. "We handled everything as well as we could have."
Garcia actually drew first blood for the Lancers. The Eagles had two dangerous chances in the first two minutes. Mitchell Carter saved one, and the other skimmed just wide of the posts. On that Lancers' first rush, Garcia took a nice ball from Alex Anderson on the right side and ripped a low shot that deflected off the far post and into the net just 2:56 into the game.
The Lancers carried that lead into the locker room, but the Eagles equalized in the 50th minute on a goal by Edwin Aguilar.
Trinity Lutheran outshot the Lancers 10-9, but the Lancers had a 7-5 advantage in the second half. CBU committed just six fouls, one in the second half.