RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- After scoring five goals in three of the past four games in a relatively trouble-free stretch, the NAIA's No. 9-ranked California Baptist University got put to the test Saturday.
Instead of using what has become a rather familiar high-powered offense to put a foe away, the Lancers resorted to simply grinding one out. The end result, though, was much the same.
Osvaldo Bastida's 58th minute header completed the Lancers comeback and lifted them to a 2-1 win over Westmont in both team's Golden State Athletic Conference opener, giving CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden his first win in three tries over his alma mater.
"I love winning 5-nil, and it's fun getting a big result against somebody, but the reality in our conference is that you play more of these types of games," said Jorden. "The character the guys showed today to fight back right away and keep working and grinding is what this team has become. They did a good job managing the game today."
CBU, now 7-1 overall, 1-0 GSAC, has won five straight, its longest such streak since 2003 and just one win shy of matching its longest winning streak in school history of six set in 2001. Westmont suffers its first loss and drops to 5-1-2, 0-1-0.
It is also the first time since a 1-0 win over The Master's in 2003 that the Lancers have won a conference opener.
For the first time in nearly a month, the Lancers found themselves in a hole and having to come from behind when Westmont's Emmanuel Akyen cleaned up a mess in front of the Lancer net and slipped one past Jeff Redinger just 7:16 into the game.
However, the deficit lasted less than three minutes as it took the Lancers all of 2:39 to equalize. Reigning NAIA Player of the Week Tiburcio Casillas sliced through the left side of the Westmont defense and towards the middle of the field when he carved a perfectly timed and placed through ball to Marc Hope, who ran onto it and beat Westmont keeper Matthew McNab to tie the game at the 9:55 mark.
It was Hope's first collegiate goal.
"Every time we've had a challenge, the guys have looked at it as something for them to overcome," said Jorden. "They did a great job responding straightaway from giving up an early goal."
The game stayed deadlocked through the intermission until Bastida came through with his fifth goal of the season. Bastida started the attack when just inside the center circle; he beat a defender and headed toward the area. Bastida played a ball out to Tim Wardell on the right side and kept running toward the goal. Wardell then gave Bastida a perfect cross as Bastida dove and headed in what turned out to be the game winner.
The Lancer defense then escaped a pair of Westmont chances in the waning moments as Redinger came up with two of his six saves in the final 1:19, including a diving save he pushed aside with 40 seconds left.
The Warriors out-shot the Lancers, 13-7, and the Lancers only had two shots on frame. Fortunately, both hit the back of the net.
"We learned a whole lot more about our team today than we have in the 5-nil wins," said Jorden. "We haven't won a game like this the past few years, so this is a big win for us as a program."