Photo Credit: Sam Lee Photography
LOS ANGELES — Morgan Bennett-Smith had a goal and an assist as the Occidental men's soccer team found its rhythm, cruising past No. 11 Redlands 3-1 at Jack Kemp Stadium on Monday.
After hitting a road bump early in the season, the Tigers have won back-to-back conference games, improving to 3-4-1 overall and 2-3 in SCIAC play.
Redlands loses its first conference game of the season, falling to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in SCIAC play.
The Tigers and the Bulldogs have had a little bit of a rivalry recently, meeting in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament in each of the last two seasons.
Oxy was the better team on Monday with an extremely aggressive attack throughout the first half.
Burdon nearly added a second goal later in the first half, missing a shot from the top of the 18-yard box off of the cross bar.
Oxy outshot Redlands 20-8 with nine of its shots on target.
The Tigers stayed on the attack throughout the first half and kept finding holes in the Bulldgos' defense.
Bennett-Smith scored his third goal of the season on a through ball from Tod Kawada in the 28th minute. Gabriel Barrett-Jackson and Bennett-Smith broke out on a counter attack after the Tigers successfully defended a throw in into the box. Bennett-Smith played the ball forward and Barrett-Jackson went from endline to endline to win the ball and keep the scoring opportunity alive.
Kawada was outstanding with skill in the middle of the field to hold the ball and find teammates running forward all night.
Bennett-Smith kept Redlands on their heels with relentless speed and a tenacious pursuit of the ball.
The most impressive goal of the game though came from Ben Simon, who hit a perfectly-placed rocket shot into the upper-right corner of the net from 30 yards out. Alban Zohn made the challenge that forced the turnover, allowing Simon to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the 30th minute.
After a handball in the box, Redlands got its first goal of the game from Alexander Knox on a penalty kick in the 40th minute, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Liam Walsh, who scored a pair of goals in Oxy's win against Cal Lutheran on Saturday, had the first real chance of the game from deep in the 13th minute. He drilled his shot, but Redlands goalkeeper Josh Haskill deflected it over the cross bar for a corner.
Oxy's Matthew Labrie had a good look at the net in the 24th minute, missing his shot just wide after working his way forward on a give and go from Bennett-Smith.
The second half started out relatively slow as the Bulldogs' push at the end of the second half subsided. Kawada had the first good opportunity, turning a Redlands goal kick into a 1 on 1 with the goalie, but he put it into the keeper's hands.
In the 66th minute, Kawada initiated another great opportunity, dancing away from a couple of defenders around midfield to play a through ball to Bennett-Smith. Bennett-Smith was able to get it past the goalie, but he didn't quite have the angle he needed from the corner of the six-yard box, missing it just wide.
Kawada nearly found the net 66th minute with a good look from just inside the box off of a quick throw in from Bennett-Smith, but missed wide left.
First year Oxy goalkeeper Dante Amodeo made his second start of the season, earning his second win. His best save of the game kept Oxy's two-goal cushion when Casey Chubbfertal had a good look inside a crowded box. Amodeo dove to his right and blocked the shot with his right arm and Oxy was able to clear it out of dange.
The Tigers back line, led by Barrett-Jackson, was outstanding all night, limiting threatening scoring opportunities.
The Tigers are back in action at Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday at 11 a.m.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram