ORANGE – The Occidental College men's soccer team erased an early deficit against Chapman for the second time this season, jumped the Panthers for fifth place in the SCIAC standings and finished with a winning overall record for the first time in at least 10 years.
After Nick Echeverry gave Chapman (8-10-1, 7-8-1 SCIAC) a 1-0 lead in the 7th minute, Marcus Brandford (Seattle) and Alexander Duvoisin (La Canada) each responded with goals, giving the Tigers a 2-1 road win on Saturday.
Brandford found the net in the 30th minute on an overlap play, assisted by Jack Day (London, England) and Keegan McChesney (Seattle), and then Duvoisin provided the game winner in the 75th minute on a pass from Ben Murray (Sandpoint, Idaho) off of a corner kick.
The Tigers (9-8, 8-8 SCIAC) were in a somber mood after a 1-0 loss at Cal Lutheran on Oct. 22 that knocked them out of SCIAC playoff contention. But after winning their last two games, they can feel comfortable knowing they're one of the better teams of the 2000s.
"Initially we fell a little short because we wanted to make it to the (SCIAC) playoffs," Occidental coach Rod Lafaurie said. "But one of our goals at the beginning of the season was to be unforgettable and this team will always be unforgettable. It will be the first noted time Oxy has a winning record."
Oxy records do not definitively show when the last winning season was.
"I'm sure it's happened, but no one has records of it," Lafaurie said, adding that the finish is especially memorable for his seniors. "The seniors are leaving a winning program and they're all a big part."
The last Oxy team to finish at least .500 overall was the 2008 squad that went 9-9.
For the Panthers, who came into the match ahead of the Tigers for fifth place by one point, the loss is especially bitter. The Tigers overcame a first-half goal for a 2-1 victory over the Panthers on Oct. 3.