CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's soccer team played to a 0-0 tie with Chapman on Thursday evening in the SCIAC semifinals, but fell on the short end of the penalty kick shootout 5-4 as the Panthers moved on to Saturday's final round.
The tie moves the Stags to 15-2-1 on the year, as they will await a possible at-large bid from the NCAA selection committee to find out if their season will continue. CMS came in ranked No. 25 in the country and No. 1 in the West Region after winning the SCIAC regular season title outright, and they did not suffer a loss in the postseason tournament, which they hope will help their odds in the selection process. Chapman moves to 10-7-1 and can earn the automatic bid if it defeats Occidental in Sunday's finals.
The shutout was the 15th of the season for CMS in 18 games, including its sixth in a row (after starting the year with eight in a row). Chapman was the only team that the Stags did not shut out during the regular season after defeating the Panthers 2-1 in overtime in their only regular season meeting at Chapman. Freshman goalie Jacob Mays had one save, which came in the second overtime, to pick up his school-record 15th shutout of the year (which leads the nation in Division III) and lower his goals against average to 0.22.
The Stags had perhaps the best chance of the night in the closing 30 seconds of regulation, as sophomore forward Daniel Rohde nearly had a goal from the top of the 18, but Chapman goalie Chandler Siemonsma just got his hand to it in order to tip it over the bar. Siemonsma also had back-to-back saves in the 84th minute off Rohde and sophomore defender William Birchard to keep the game scoreless.
Mays made his only save in the 103rd minute to tip the ball over the bar and force a Chapman corner kick, and the Panthers earned another corner moments later, but the Stag defense held resolute. In the final minute of the second extra session, a ball bounced tantalizingly close to the goal line with Siemonsma out of net, but the Stags were unable to finish as it pinged off of several shins, before being whistled for offsides. The Stags earned one final corner kick in the last 15 seconds, which was taken by Henry Kraham, but Chapman was able to clear it from danger and force it to penalty kicks.
Birchard, freshman Ethan Tyng, and sophomore Kevin Proudfoot all knocked their penalty kicks home to give the Stags leads, but the Panthers answered each time. After Siemonsma had a diving save to give his team the leg up, Kraham buried his to tie it 4-4 and give CMS one last chance, but Aidan Wall buried his after only a quick two-step approach to finish off the shootout with the Panthers ahead 5-4.
If the Stags do not get an at-large bid, almost the entire team will be back next year to try to build off the enormous success of this year's program, as starting holding midfielder Aidan Johnson and defender Scott Montague are the only seniors on the roster. But the Stags are hopeful that they can get good news from the selection committee and see how much more success this year's team can have.