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Rafael Otero scored his ninth goal of the year for CMS (photo by Eva Fernandez)
Rafael Otero scored his ninth goal of the year for CMS (photo by Eva Fernandez)

CMS Men's Soccer Falls in Penalty Kicks in SCIAC Semifinals

REDLANDS, Calif. - Rafael Otero scored to give the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's soccer team a 1-0 lead in the second half, and converted his effort in the penalty kick shootout to give the Stags a 3-2 lead after three rounds, but Redlands was able to tie the score with 3:13 left in regulation and win the shootout 5-4 in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Semifinals on Wednesday at Farquhar Field.

The result officially goes in the books as a 1-1 tie, as Redlands moves to 12-2-3 on the year and advances to Saturday's championship game at Occidental. The Stags see their season end with only three losses at 8-3-6. 

Otero banged in a free kick from a sharp angle just four minutes into the second half to put the Stags ahead 1-0. CMS had controlled play in the first half, outshooting the Bulldogs 7-2, including a shot cleared off the line by the Redlands defense. After the halftime to discuss tactics, finally broke the ice when Otero scored his ninth goal of the year, bouncing his 20-yarder inside the near post. 

However, with just 3:13 to go, Phillip Kostenko evened the score when he finished his own rebound after CMS goalkeeper Kevin Box saved his first effort from close range. Neither team generated a dangerous chance in the overtime sessions, with both teams getting their only shots off corner kicks. Cooper Danielson had a shot blocked from a sharp angle at the close of the first overtime, and Box made a routine save on a header in the second overtime. 

The game then went to penalty kicks, and the Stags converted their first three, as Eric Sanchez, John Laidlaw and Rafael Otero all found the net. Redlands, meanwhile, hit the crossbar on its second chance, giving CMS a 3-2 lead with two rounds to go. 

Redlands goalie Seth Lawrence then came up with a big save to get the score even, and the Bulldogs went ahead 4-3, with Lukas Huntington needing to make his in order to force an extra round. Huntington buried his shot to keep the Stags alive, and Box nearly came up with a save when he guessed correctly, but Landon Azavedo was able to put his shot into the side netting. 

Lawrence then was able to finish it off when he dove to his left for the save to give the Bulldogs the 5-4 shootout win. Lawrence had just two saves in 110 minutes of game action, but came up with two in the final three rounds of the shootout to send Redlands on to the next round. Box finished with five saves for the Stags.