William Birchard Named SCIAC Men's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week

William Birchard Named SCIAC Men's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week

CLAREMONT, Calif. - After winning the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Week twice earlier this season, sophomore left back William Birchard took the league's Offensive Player of the Week for games through Oct. 27, it was announced today by the conference office.

Birchard earned the Offensive Player of the Week honor this week for scoring both CMS goals in a pair of huge 1-0 wins that clinched the SCIAC regular season title outright. On Wednesday against Redlands, in a battle between two teams that came into the day tied for first at 10-2, Birchard scored on a free kick in the 83rd minute, tucking a shot into the side netting from 25 yards out to give CMS the 1-0 win and sole possession first. 

The Stags still needed to come away with a win or a tie at Occidental in order to claim sole possession of the league crown, and went to overtime deadlocked at 0-0. After Occidental was whistled for a foul in the box in the 94th minute, Birchard stepped up to the spot, and knocked home his team-leading sixth goal of the season to give CMS the 1-0 win and the outright league title. 

Birchard was also part of a defensive unit that picked up its 13th and 14th shutouts of the year in 17 games, setting a new school record for shutouts in a season. Thanks to the strong work of Birchard, center backs Adam Singer and Kevin Proudfoot, and outside backs Nate Joseph and Grant Donaldson, freshman goalie Jacob Mays hasn't needed to make more than four saves on his way to a school-record 14 solo shutouts. CMS now ranks second in the nation in Division III in both goals against average (0.23) and shutout percentage (82.4), trailing only Saint Joseph's (Maine) in both categories. 

CMS will begin postseason play on Thursday, when it hosts Chapman for a 7 p.m. contest at Pritzlaff Field. Chapman and CMS met only one time this year, which the Stags won 2-1 in overtime at Chapman after the Panthers broke the Stags' streak of eight straight shutouts to start the year.