Four CMS teams advance in NCAA Championships

It was a spectacular weekend for CMS Athletics as four fall teams advanced in NCAA competition, with both the men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams earning the championships of their NCAA Regionals, and the men’s cross country and women’s cross country teams qualifying for nationals for the 12th year in a row, all while the football team defeated Pomona-Pitzer 20-17 in front of a large crowd at Zinda Field to take back the Sixth Street trophy in the annual consortium rivalry game. 

The feel-good story of the weekend came from the women’s soccer team, which thought its season was over two weeks ago on Nov. 2, when a loss to Chapman kept the Athenas from qualifying for the SCIAC Tournament and earning a chance at getting the league’s automatic bid. CMS got a second life, though, when the NCAA selection show took place on Monday morning, and a couple of big early season wins were enough to earn an at-large bid from the selection committee. With renewed energy after getting a reprieve, the Athenas were the upset winners of the Cal Lutheran Regional, defeating Emory 2-1 on Saturday and edging host Cal Lutheran 4-2 on penalty kicks on Sunday evening, with Lauryn Jeans ‘22 providing the clincher. CMS moves on to the NCAA Sectionals next weekend at Washington University in Saint Louis, where it will face host WashU on Saturday, and a win in that one would put the Athenas in the quarterfinals against either Pomona-Pitzer or the University of Chicago for the right to advance to the Final Four. 

The penalty kick shootout win enabled the Athenas to join their male counterparts in the Round of 16, after the CMS men’s soccer team advanced with a 2-0 win over Trinity on Sunday afternoon. The Stags won their opening round game on Saturday 2-0 over Texas Lutheran behind two first-half goals on penalty kicks from William Birchard ‘21, and then used two late goals from Ethan Tyng ‘22 and Samay Rahim ‘22 to knock off host Trinity on Sunday as Jacob Mays ’22 earned his 19th career shutout in goal. CMS will move on to the NCAA Sectionals at Kenyon this weekend, facing Centre College on Saturday in the Round of 16, where a win would put the Stags through to Sunday’s quarterfinals against either host Kenyon or Montclair State for the right to go to the Final Four. CMS was 15-2-1 last year but was left out of the NCAA Tournament, and this year, they captured the SCIAC Championship to take the decision out of the selection committee’s hands. 

The CMS women’s cross country team repeated as NCAA West Region champions with a first-place finish on Saturday at the Pomona-Pitzer cross country course in Claremont. Both the Athenas and the Stags, who came in second in their race, earned automatic qualifications to the NCAA Championships this Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky by finishing in the top two in the regionals. The CMS men’s team ran without senior Thomas D’Anieri ‘20, who was the SCIAC individual champion on November 2 but was held out of the regional race in order to be at maximum strength for nationals this weekend, but still finished a close second to Pomona-Pitzer in the team standings. The CMS women’s team had five of the top 16 finishers in their race to easily capture the team title, their second team championship in a row after also winning the SCIAC title on Nov. 2 (its tenth straight SCIAC championship). 

The CMS football team concluded its season with a big rivalry win over Pomona-Pitzer to take back the Sixth Street Trophy after a two-year wait, holding on to defeat the Sagehens 20-17 at Zinda Field. Sophomore quarterback Zach Fogel ’21 was 8-9 passing for the Stags for 102 yards. and also ran for 82 yards and a touchdown, while Dylan Porter ‘22 led a strong defensive effort with six tackles and two sacks and Jack Holden ’23 added a big fourth-quarter interception. CMS last won the Sixth Street Trophy in 2016, and earned it back after falling on the last play of the game in 2017 and then suffering its only SCIAC loss to the Sagehens a year ago in its SCIAC Championship season. 

— Jeremy Kniffin

Read about all the excitement at the links below:

Men’s Soccer: https://cmsathletics.org/sports/msoc/2019-20/releases/20191117s3v1ys
Women’s Soccer: https://cmsathletics.org/sports/wsoc/2019-20/releases/201911182oqlq2
WXC: https://cmsathletics.org/sports/wxc/2019-20/releases/20191116tin0dl
MXC: https://cmsathletics.org/sports/mxc/2019-20/releases/20191116trc6qp
Football: https://cmsathletics.org/sports/fball/2019-20/releases/20191116tanw4p