Shields’ Goal Not Enough to Swipe SCIAC Crown

Although the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s soccer season came to a close on Thursday, Nov. 5 against California Lutheran University in a 2-1 finish, the game was never dull. In her final collegiate game, forward Darrah Shields CM ’16 put an exclamation point on her career with an incredible strike that served as the highlight of the game for the Athenas.

Both teams came out with high energy, but it was the Regals who found the back of the net first with a well-executed foray into Athena territory to take the 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. That goal proved to be the spark that the Athenas needed, though, and Shields answered back on the very next possession. After the referee awarded the Athenas a free kick from 25 yards out, Shields stepped into position, determined to find the equalizing goal and erase the Athenas' deficit. Shields fired an impeccably-placed blast into the top left corner of the goal, lightly grazing the fingers of Cal Lutheran goalie Coral Hasley as it screamed into the back of the net.

Although Shields’ goal tied up the game and shifted the momentum away from Cal Lutheran, the Regals responded in the second half with another superb goal to pull ahead when Raquel Weckhurst, SCIAC’s leading scorer, used her speed to motor into space and then loft a shot over goalie Kelly McConnell HM ’17. The Athena backline, which has been impressive all season long, could only watch as the virtually indefensible shot fell almost vertically down into the goal.

Throughout the year, defenders Jacey Coniff HM ’18, Wren Osler SC ’18 and Amy Johnson CM ’17 have stymied opposing offenses to consistently keep the Athenas in the game. McConnell had another excellent game in goal, with five saves throughout the match to end her season with 105 saves in her 32 games for the season. The two goals she conceded stemmed more from admirable offense on the part of the Regals than from any defensive lapse on the part of the Athenas.

Though their SCIAC playoff contention ended Nov. 5, CMS’ season is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. In their 21 games, the Athenas played three overtime and five double-overtime matches, including an epic home-field victory against Willamette University in early September. After tying Occidental College on Sept. 30, CMS stormed through October with a six-game win streak to help them secure a berth in the SCIAC playoffs.

Last Saturday, Oct. 31, CMS stepped onto Whittier College’s field, determined to earn the home-field advantage and the No. 2 overall ranking they desired for the SCIAC playoffs. In the double-overtime tie, the Stags held Whittier scoreless in an epic 110-minute match. CMS’ defenders Coniff, Johnson, Osler and Laura Hayward CM ’16 put pressure on the Poets the entire game. 

Although this season ended in disappointment for the Athenas, with eight starters returning next year, CMS will be in a strong position next season as they aspire to a SCIAC championship.

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