Brems and Shields Help Athenas Earn SCIAC Win

Midfielder Makella Brems CM ’17 had wanted to score a goal like this
all her life. It was the 28th minute of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
women’s soccer team’s (7-3-1, 4-1 SCIAC) 2-1 victory over Occidental College
(4-3, 2-3 SCIAC) on Sept. 27, and Brems was standing on the edge of the 18-yard
line after receiving a free kick opportunity.

She scanned the field, looking for a way to
breach the defense and realized that this was the time to try something she had
never done before. The Tigers had
erected a wall of players to guard the near side of the goal, daring Brems to
send the ball to the far side, where the goalie was patrolling just beyond the
wall. However, Brems had other plans in
mind. She carefully curved the ball
around the wall toward the near post like a heat-seeking missile honing in on
its target and buried it in the back of the net.

“I got the
ball and turned and faced up and dribbled at their defensive line, and I made a
quick move at the last second, and the girl dove in and fouled me, so they called
a foul,” Brems said. “So I set the ball down and decided to try to to bend
it near post around the wall and got it in.”

That shot
proved to be the go-ahead goal in the Athenas’ 2-1 victory, following a strike
by midfielder Darrah Shields CM ’16 in the 20th minute after receiving an
assist from Brems.

“We had a
passing sequence up the field, and the ball got to me, and I took it outside and
cut back and passed it in to Darrah’s feet, and she trapped it facing the goal,
then turned the defender and shot it,” Brems said.

Occidental
did receive the benefit of a goal in the 81st minute, but it was
not enough to overcome the deficit as the Athenas emerged victorious.

“We just
played really well as a team,” forward Isabel Lester CM ’15 said. “We have great
team chemistry this year, and that’s helped build more team confidence as well.”

Coming off
their victory over the Tigers, CMS next challenged the University of Redlands
(5-3, 3-2 SCIAC) on Wednesday, Oct. 1, but fell to the Bulldogs 3-2 in double
overtime. 

The game began
as a defensive battle with neither team able to find the back of the net in the
first half. This continued a trend of
great defensive play for the Athenas. In
fact, this game was the first time this season that CMS had allowed more than
two goals in a game.

“Our back
line is super strong,” Lester said. “We have three seniors and one junior,
so we have lots of experience, and that’s been key.”

Once again
it was Shields and Brems who rose to the challenge for the Athenas, with
Shields scoring the first goal of the game on a free kick following a Redlands
yellow card. Brems followed that goal with another after she beat her
defender on the edge and netted a low-post goal.

However,
Redlands was also able to score two goals in the second half and then scored
the game-winner in the 101st minute to give them the
victory.

Since the
field was larger than average, both teams had to make use of their speed and
endurance in order to prevail.

“We’ve been
working on taking the ball wide and cutting it back and crossing it in,” Lester said. “Speed is one of our strengths, so we try to use that to our
advantage.”

In
addition, CMS had to adjust their formation in order to counter Redlands.  CMS usually lines up in a 4-3-3 formation,
but since Redlands usually employs a 4-4-2, the Athenas had to switch to a 3-5-2 in order to gain control of the midfield. Brems thinks that this year, the team has
improved in that area overall.

“Tactically we are connecting way better in
the midfield this year,” she said. “Our passing and possession has been
way more on point; we’ve had much better movement off the ball as well.”

The Athenas
next take the field on Saturday, Oct. 4, at Chapman University (6-4,
2-3 SCIAC), followed by a home face-off with Pomona-Pitzer (6-2-1, 4-0-1 SCIAC)
on Wednesday, Oct. 8. 

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