Cal State L.A. picks up victory
Golden Eagles extend unbeaten streak to 14 games
SEATTLE -- Cal State L.A. made sure the fourth time would be the charm.
The Golden Eagles, denied NCAA West Region championships in 2006, 2008 and 2009, broke through on Saturday night with a 3-2 victory against top-seed Seattle Pacific at Interbay Stadium. Cal State L.A. (15-1-6) stretched its unbeaten streak to 14 games and is now 10-0-4 during that stretch.
Jason Swope scored a pair of goals for the Golden Eagles, while Antti Arvola scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the second half. Cal State L.A. took a pair of two-goal leads at 2-0 and 3-1, but Seattle Pacific kept battling back and caused some anxious moments down the stretch.
The Golden Eagles, after reaching the regional championship match for the fourth time in the past six years, broke through this time around. Previously, the Golden Eagles were denied after tying Seattle University and then falling in penalty kicks in 2006, fell to Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson in 2008 and lost again to the Toros at Jesse Owens Stadium in 2009.
Seattle Pacific (14-4-2) ended up with an 18-14 advantage in shots, including an 11-3 edge in the second half when the Falcons scored twice to stay in the game. The Falcons also had a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.
Waleed Cassis made six saves in goal for the Golden Eagles, while Zack Johnson had two saves for Seattle Pacific.
Swope had another tremendous game as he notched his 12th and 13th goals of the season. He nearly had a third goal, but his bid bounced off the crossbar in the 61st minute. Arvola wrapped up the scoring with his eighth goal of the season.
The Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute when Swope received a pass from Arvola and scored from point-blank range, about five yards out. He then made it 2-0 with a goal in the 41st minute with an assist from Marvin Sandoval, who sent Swope in on a one-on-one with the Seattle Pacific goalkeeper. Swope didn't miss from about 10 yards out to give the Golden Eagles a two-goal lead heading into halftime.
That two-goal cushion didn't last long. The Falcons scored just 2:13 into the second half when Jon Pearlman scored off a throw-in from about six yards out.
The Golden Eagles survived that initial Seattle Pacific burst and nearly took a 3-1 lead when Swope's hard shot bounced off the bar in the 61st minute. Seven minutes later, Arvola did re-establish the Golden Eagles' two-goal lead with his eighth goal of the season off a free kick from about 26 yards out. Derek Faulkner drew the Seattle Pacific foul that led to the free kick.
Seattle Pacific, though, continued its relentless pressure and cut the lead back to one goal for a second time in the 81st minute. Again, it was a throw-in, this time knocked in by Tyler Schultz.
Cal State L.A. was able to protect its lead the rest of the way. A late foul gave Seattle Pacific one last chance in the waning seconds, but a bid by Drew Williams sailed high and the clock ran out.
Rosario Bras had a team-high four shots for the Golden Eagles.