Riding its momentum from a 4-0 thrashing of Caltech last Saturday, the No. 1 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s soccer team (13-3-2, 9-1-2 SCIAC) took down the No. 4 seed Occidental Tigers 2-0 in the semifinal of the SCIAC postseason tournament Wednesday night.
The Stags peppered the Tigers’ goal throughout the first half, getting off eight shots — five of which were on target — in the first 45 minutes of play while keeping Oxy from shooting.
However, CMS struggled to get past Oxy goalkeeper Scott Drazan, whose five crucial first-half saves kept the game scoreless at the break.
CMS opened the second half with the same attacking mindset, putting up four more shots within the first 10 minutes.
In the 56th minute, the Stags’ aggressiveness paid off. A free kick by William Birchard CM ’21 deflected off an Occidental defender and found the back of the net, ending the scoring drought.
Less than four minutes later, Ethan Tyng CM ’22 put another one past Drazan off a ball from William Barton CM ’22, effectively sealing the game.
Defender Adam Singer CM ’20, who was recently named 2019 SCIAC Athlete of the Year and a First Team All-SCIAC honoree, attributed the Stags’ second-half performance to “sheer desire.”
“We lost this game last year to Chapman, and I know nobody on the team wanted that to happen again,” he said. “We started wearing them down with our pace, with our strength, and things just opened up for us.”
The victory was reflective of the Stags’ strong conference play all year, as they finished the regular season with only one SCIAC loss.
“At our best, nobody can hang with us,” Singer said. “We’re more disciplined, we’re more talented, we work harder than every other team in SCIAC.”
However, Singer noted that the Stags will need to be at the top of their game to take down the No. 2 seed Redlands — against whom CMS tied in both of its regular season matchups — in the championship game.
“They’re just as hungry as us, so we just have to make sure that we do all the little things better than they do: work harder, connect our passes, win every first and second ball and finish chances when we get them,” he said. “We had some chances here today that we didn’t put away, and a really good team like Redlands is going to make us pay for that.”
The Stags will host Redlands at 7 p.m. Saturday as they look to win the SCIAC tournament for the first time since 2012.