Even though Harvest Christian got a notable first-ever win over Westminster Christian, the Lions are hoping their neighbors to the west will still lend them a helping hand.
In fact, Thursday’s 2-1 Northeast Athletic Conference victory for Harvest means the Lions are rooting for the Warriors and anyone else in the NAC who still has to play unbeaten Keith Country Day.
Westminster (5-7-1, 0-2) nearly took the lead in the 12th minute as scoring leader Robert Kleczynski shook the left post with a 16-yard blast.
But it was Harvest (4-1-1, 2-1) cashing in on its first opportunity in the 19th minute as Cesar Velazquez chalked up his second assist of the year by setting up teammate Austin White for an eight-yarder from the right side.
“I was trying to get past their backline and (Cesar) gave me a great ball to work with. I ran through and put it on frame — it all fell into place for me,’ White said of his third goal.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the lead was short-lived.
“We had a lapse in concentration and they put it right down our throat,” Harvest coach Jason Acres said of the Warriors’ equalizer that came 35 seconds later.
Noah Gannon earned the assist on Joseph Tyrell’s shot from the right wing that sailed inside the far-left post.
“Noah played a perfect ball so I only had to beat one guy to get my shot,” Tyrell said. “Scoring so quickly gave us a lot of confidence to keep putting pressure on them.”
The Warriors did that statistically owning a 20-16 advantage for overall attempts and an 11-7 edge in shots on goal. But it wasn’t quite enough.
“That (equalizer) was big, we didn’t drop our heads the whole game and continued to fight,” Westminster coach Erik Schwartz said. “We continued to fight and had chances, but they finished two of theirs and we finished one — that’s the story of the game.”
The decisive score came in the 66th minute when Alesandro D’Argento kept eluding the scrambling of Westminster goalkeeper Sam Cafoni and worked himself into position for a 19-yarder lofted toward the far post.
“He feathered that ball just right over the center back, what a huge goal,” Acres said of the freshman playing his second game and scoring his second goal of the year.
“Their goalie came out, and when I pulled the ball back, he kept coming so I brought it back further to be able to get a left foot touch,” D’Argento said. “I knew it was going in because of how it felt off my foot.”
Both Cafoni and Harvest goalkeeper Noah Fox had several notable saves and several mid-air grabs during the final 10 minutes of offensive pressure. Fox raced out to smother a stellar flip throw-in from Michael Beusse two minutes prior to the final horn.