LOS ANGELES — Alessandro Carotenuto (Scottsdale, Ariz.) put the Tigers out in front, then Daniel Watson (San Francisco) bounced one off the wall for the go-ahead goal on a set piece and the Occidental College men's soccer team recorded the biggest win in the Rod Lafaurie era, beating No. 15 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 2-1 at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday.
Daniel Watson scored the game-winning goal against CMS on Saturday with a free kick from 30 yards out.
From 30 yards out, Watson drilled a shot that caromed off the front of the CMS wall that was protecting the right post, and into the right corner of the net for the game-winning goal in the 33rdminute.
"If you see an open spot, you got to hit it there," Watson said. "If it goes in, it goes in.
It was a big goal and a big win."
The most ironic part about Watson's heroism, is that he doesn't usually take free kicks. But with Ben Murray (Sandpoint, Idaho), Reid Sakamoto (Honolulu) and Carotenuto all on the bench at that moment, Watson got to do what he's been bugging the coaching staff about in practice for the last week.
"He said at the last practice that he has some good ideas on set pieces," Lafaurie said. "Then when we ended up with one, and with our three main takers on the bench, we said, 'Why not? He said he had good ideas.'"
Watson's goal broke a 1-1 tie early in the first half.
Jack Day (London, England) beat a defender on the left side near the goal line and found Carotenuto, who stopped his run at the top of the 18-yard box, waited for Day and one-timed a left-footed shot past CMS goalkeeper Daniel Roberts to give Oxy a 1-0 lead in 16th minute.
"It was such elation to get that goal," Carotenuto said. "I saw it through the whole play. I had almost a premonition as to what I was going to do when I got it and it happened exactly the way I thought it would."
Alessandro Carotenuto (left) scored his first career goal in the 16th minute.
It was his first career goal and certainly a memorable one.
CMS' Harrison Doyle found Jared Bernstein 6 minutes later to even the score, 1-1.
Oxy had a flurry of chances in the first half on top of the goals, the two best by Connor Freeman (Mercer Island, Wash.). The freshman created two breakaways for himself but he missed one high and one wide with Roberts leaving his line each time to contest.
Late in the second half, Oxy began substituting strategically with around 25 minutes left, preventing the Stags from gaining any momentum.
CMS gave Oxy a scare late with three corner kicks in the last 3 minutes. But each time the Tigers were able to clear and maintain their lead.
Oxy defender Douglas Pentland (Corvallis, Ore.) foiled two of CMS' best chances, one that led to the first of the consecutive corners and the other that halted a breakaway with 7 minutes left.
The Tigers are off to a good start in conference having played the defending champions and a nationally ranked team.
"We're starting the season off on a pretty good foot. We're 2-1, 1-1 in SCIAC and we've played the two hardest teams," said Sakamoto, a senior captain. "I feel good about this season."
The Tigers continue SCIAC play at Whittier on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"It's a big win, but by no means are we satisfied," Lafaurie said. "We need to build on it and I'm confident this group will do so."