CMS Men's Soccer Picks Up Seventh Straight Shutout, Defeats Whittier 3-0

CMS Men's Soccer Picks Up Seventh Straight Shutout, Defeats Whittier 3-0

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The No. 19 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's soccer team picked up its seventh straight shutout to start the season, matching the program's largest single-season streak in the 2000s, as it took a 3-0 home win over Whittier on Wednesday evening at Pritzlaff Field.

With the win, the Stags are now 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in the SCIAC and have outscored their opponents 22-0 over the first seven contests. The seven shutouts in a row matches a streak established by the 2004 team, while the eight in a row dating back to a shutout in the regular season finale last year at La Verne is the longest for the program since at least 2000. 

Freshman midfielder Houston Engleman had the eventual game-winning goal when he headed in a cross from freshman forward William Barton in the 39th minute. Sophomore defender William Birchard then helped up the second goal with a corner kick that resulted in a deflection off a Whittier defender for an own goal in the 69th minute, and capped off the scoring on a penalty kick after a hand ball in the box with 10:59 to play. 

Freshman goalie Jacob Mays was tested early in the contest and finished with a season-high four saves to get his seventh straight shutout to start his career. Several times this season he hasn't been called into much duty to record clean sheets, but he has needed to step up with big saves in each of the last two games and has responded to the challenge. He feels that he welcomed the chance to show his teammates that they can trust him when needed. 

"It was very nice, because they've gained my trust," Mays said. "Every game they are putting themselves on the line, and I can't really do that as much because I can't work as hard as they are because I'm kind of sitting in goal. So it's really important to step up when I can and gain the trust of my defenders."

Over the first seven games, Mays has marveled at the work that the guys in front of him have been doing. "They are absolutely amazing," he said. "I wouldn't be able to do anything I'm doing without the defenders that I have in front of me. The outside backs are absolutely fantastic keeping the runs from coming in, and our center backs are just big, strong, and make me do very little, which is nice."

Mays held the fort early against Whittier, as the Poets held a 6-2 edge in shots in the first 30 minutes, with three of them on net. The Stags finally turned the tide late in the half, and Engleman got on the back end of a long cross from the right side from Barton with 6:18 to play in the half and headed it down from just outside the top of the six-yard box past Whittier goalkeeper Teddy Nickerson. 

The score held at 1-0 until the Stags created a little bit of luck. Birchard took a corner kick that he played to the top of the six-yard box, and Cole Smith slipped in front of the Whitter defense and had the first touch, flicking the ball backwards to try to connect with a teammate 12-yards out. Instead the ball hit of a Whittier defender crashing down the middle and ricocheted into the net for an own goal to stretch the lead to 2-0. Another bouncing ball through the box 10 minutes later hit off a Whittier player's hand and resulted in a penalty kick, which Birchard buried into the upper corner to close out the scoring. 

The Stags will take their win streak and shutout streak on the road to Redlands for a big matchup with the Bulldogs, who are also 4-0 in the SCIAC after Wednesday's play (a 3-0 win over La Verne).