Claremont, CA - Wednesday night in the CMS-Whittier SCIAC Men's Soccer Semifinal, the fans were treated to a physical, and hard fought match. Both squads had scoring opportunities, however only CMS found a way to score, winning 4-0.
The Whittier College Poets were cheered on by a large contingent of fans who made the trip to Claremont to watch their team take on the Stags. In the first half, Whittier managed to show greater discipline and ball control as they frequently took the ball away from CMS players and maintained possession. Testing Stag keeper Frederick Doar early on, including a free kick from roughly 20 yards out, the Poets looked poised to net the game's first goal and take the lead. However it would be Harrison Doyle of CMS who would provide the first goal after receiving a through pass that he chipped just over the side of Poet goalie David Diaz in the 27th minute.
Scoring the opening goal lifted the Stags' spirits as they continued to fight off Poet attacks, while creating several of their own. In the 40th minute, Doyle was taking down in the Poet penalty area, which the officials would mark a penalty. CMS' Sam Ullman shot the PK low and right, as Diaz guessed correctly and initially made the stop. However, the ball would slowly roll over Diaz's outstretched body for the Stags' second goal of the night.
The final goal of the half would come off a free-kick from a little over 20 yards out of the Poet box in the 45th minute. Ullman lined up to take the free kick from the right side of the box, a shot that rifled past defenders and towards the upper right corner of the goal. Diaz would reach the ball, deflect it off the post and back into his box where John Shaugnessy (substituted into the game in minute 45) reacted and headed the rebound into the back of the net.
Physical play was the story on this night, as the second half brought out more intensity with the Poets fighting to keep their season alive, three goals down. Three of the game's four yellow cards were given in the second half of a game that saw 32 total fouls with the referees doing an excellent job to protect the players from harm as well as maintaining order in an important match for both teams. The final goal of the match would come in minute 66 as the Stag defense intercepted a pass just shy of midfield creating a counterattack opportunity that saw three passes before Doyle found the net for his second goal of the night on the assist from Shaughnessy.
The Poets showed a well-rounded team effort offensively as seven different players contributed shots, with the most dangerous one coming late in the game five yards from goal. Doar found himself surrounded by Poet players before a close shot ended up directly aimed for him. He came away with the save that preserved the clean sheet for the Stags.
The Poets finish the year with a 9-9 overall record, 9-5 in conference. The Stags improve to 13-5-1 overall, 9-4-1 in conference.
The SCIAC Final will take place Saturday Nov. 5 at Redlands as the CMS Stags take on the Redlands Bulldogs.