Sweet Sunday! CMS Men's Soccer Moves on to the Round of 16 with 2-0 Win over Trinity

Samay Rahim's first goal of the season helped seal a 2-0 win (photo courtesy of Trinity University)
Samay Rahim's first goal of the season helped seal a 2-0 win (photo courtesy of Trinity University)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Sophomores Ethan Tyng and Samay Rahim scored late second-half goals 3:33 apart as the CMS men's soccer team defeated host Trinity 2-0 to advance to capture the regional and move on the NCAA Division III Championship Round of 16 on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Stags improve to 16-3-2 on the season and a combined 31-5-3 over the last two seasons, and will move on to face Centre College in next weekend's sectional, which upset No. 7 John Carroll 3-1 on Sunday to advance. No. 4 Franklin & Marshall was also upset from the CMS side of the bracket by Montclair State, which leaves No. 9 Kenyon, No. 13 CMS, and unranked Centre and Montclair State left in the sectionals (at a site to be determined) for the chance to reach the NCAA Division III Final Four, which will be held on Dec. 6-7 in Greensboro, N.C.

"It feels amazing," said senior center back Adam Singer after the game. "Obviously I'm not quite ready to hang up my boots yet, I've worked so hard since my freshman year. I honestly can't even put it into words right now I'm so excited."

The match was stuck in a 0-0 stalemate for almost 80 minutes, with the Stags having the best chance when a shot from first-year Justin Blachman had Tiger goalkeeper Blake Lieberman beat, but it was deflected away by a leaping Trinity defender midway through the second half. CMS finally unlocked the Tiger defense, though, with the help of some big-time work from junior midfielder Daniel Rohde to set up the play. 

CMS tried to send a cross into the box from the right side of the field, but it was headed away by the Tiger defense and rolled all the way to the far side 35 yards away from goal. Rohde tracked it down and pushed it up the left sideline, where he was cut off by a Trinity defender, appearing to lose possession. Rohde kept working though, and won the ball back before fighting off a challenge into the corner of the box. He then cut back towards the end line, beating two defenders, and chipped a perfectly-weighted cross towards the top of the six-yard box. Tyng read the play and positioned himself perfectly behind the ball, making no mistake as he snapped a header past a helpless Lieberman to give CMS the 1-0 advantage with 11:44 remaining in the contest. 

It didn't take long for the Stags to add to the lead, as Trinity was whistled for a hand ball just outside the left corner of the penalty area. Rahim took the kick and bent an in-swinger towards the far post where first-year midfielder Troy Lehenbauer was crashing down the middle looking to get on the back end. Lieberman froze for a second anticipating a potential header, but Rahim's ball had just the right swerve on it to carry it into the side netting for his first goal of the season. 

Sophomore goalie Jacob Mays went the distance and only needed to make one save to record his 19th career shutout, and that came on a slow roller early in the second half. Mays did have to deal with a pair of low crosses late in the first half after the Tigers penetrated the CMS penalty area, but he pulled in both with Tigers waiting on the doorstep to prevent the Stags from falling into a first-half deficit. 

CMS has now won four postseason games, all by the identical 2-0 score, including wins over Occidental and Redlands in the SCIAC Tournament and wins over Texas Lutheran and Trinity at the NCAA Regionals. The Stags have also now shut out 12 opponents this year and 27 in the last two seasons over a span of 39 games. 

"We're obviously really lucky to have a guy like Adam anchoring the middle of our defense," said head coach Matt Edwards. "But everybody defends on our team. It's a collective effort and we're really roud of how we defended all weekend."

Although Centre College was unranked heading into NCAA play, the Colonels pose a formidable challenge in the next round with an 18-3-1 record this season and a 3-1 win over No. 7 John Carroll on Sunday to fuel their confidence. Both teams played Oglethorpe this season, with the Stags falling 2-1 in overtime in their season opener back on Aug. 30, and the Colonels falling 3-1 in their conference opener before earning revenge with a 4-3 overtime win in the conference championship game. 

The Stags now have 16 wins this season, the most since the 2000 and 2001 teams each had 18 wins to match the school record originally set in 1984. If CMS can tie that mark, it will find itself in Greensboro, N.C. at the NCAA Division III Final Four.