A clutch offensive connection between seniors Parker Converse ’15 and Cole Fletcher ’15, combined with an epic goal-keeping performance from Michael Gaven ’18, let the Wolverines squeak out a 1-0 win over the Warriors (5-5-4 overall, 4-4-0 in Mission League) on the road on Friday night.
With Gaven filling in for usual starter Nick Richmond ’16 (out due to sickness), the Wolverines showed no ill effects in the first half on the defensive side of the ball, holding Alemany scoreless and keeping the game tied entering the break.
Early in the second half, the Wolverines offensively threatened somewhat behind work from forwards Charles Du Manoir ’15 and Henry Quilici ’15, but couldn’t connect for the first 17 minutes. With roughly 23 minutes to go, however, Converse struck a beautiful ball on a free kick from roughly 40 yards out to a jumping Fletcher in the box, who perfectly timed his header to go just past the outstretched hand of the Alemany keeper into the bottom left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
From that point on, it was the Gaven show for Harvard-Westlake, as the freshman single-handedly kept all of Alemany’s comeback efforts at bay. Gaven finished with six saves in the second half, each seemingly better than the last; his spectacular late-game efforts spurred fans in the crowd, unfamiliar with the face of the new player, to chant “Goalie, MVP.” After Gaven made a phenomenal one-handed stoppage time save off of a rebound-shot from an Alemany free kick, the Wolverines clinched victory, finishing the match with a huge 1-0 win.
With the victory, Harvard-Westlake moves to 10-2-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the Mission League, remaining in second place in the league behind rival Loyola. The Wolverines will next take on winless Crespi (0-9-6 overall, 0-4-3 in league), whom they defeated 4-1 in the teams’ first matchup, at home on February 2nd at 5:15 P.M.