CMS Men's Soccer Stays in First-Place Tie with 2-0 Win at Cal Lutheran

CMS Men's Soccer Stays in First-Place Tie with 2-0 Win at Cal Lutheran

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Sophomore defender William Birchard scored in the first half on a penalty kick and assisted on a goal from sophomore forward Daniel Rohde in the second half, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's soccer team picked up a key 2-0 road win over Cal Lutheran on Wednesday.

With the win, the Stags improve to 12-2 overall and 9-2 in the SCIAC while picking up their 11th shutout in 14 games. CMS held Cal Lutheran (5-10, 5-7 SCIAC) to only three shot attempts on the day, one on net, the same figures it held the Kingsmen to in the first meeting between the teams at CMS (a 3-0 win). 

Birchard helped give the Stags the early lead after a foul in the box gave him a chance from the spot at the 14:36 mark. He calmly buried his chance for his fourth goal of the season, two of which have come on penalty kicks. 

The lead held at 1-0 until the second half, when Birchard took a free kick after a foul outside the box, and found Rohde in the center of the penalty area, who finished his shot into the lower-left corner for his second goal of the season. It was also the team-leading fifth assist of the year for Birchard, who is tied for the team lead with 13 points, despite playing an outside back position. 

Freshman goalie Jacob Mays had to make only one save on the day to pick up the shutout, which came in the 76th minute. The other two shots that the Kingsmen were credited with were both blocked by the CMS defense, as the back four of Birchard, junior Adam Singer, sophomore Kevin Proudfoot and freshman Grant Donaldson, with senior holding midfielder Aidan Johnson in front of them, locked down the Cal Lutheran offense throughout. That defensive dominance is nothing new this season, though, as Mays had played every minute in goal and now stands at 12-2 with 11 shutouts, and his career-high in saves in his brief career is still only four (vs. Whittier and Redlands).

The win was also crucial for CMS in its bid to earn the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament with three games left to play. The Stags came into the day tied atop the league standings with Redlands, which hosted Caltech and won 3-1, and the CMS victory enabled the deadlock for the top spot to stay in tact. The two teams meet next Wednesday at Prtizlaff Field in a game which could decide the top seed (although Occidental is also lurking one game behind in the loss column, and hosts the Stags in the regular season finale next Saturday). 

CMS will next be in action when it travels to Whittier on Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest.