Two Late Goals 27 Seconds Apart Keep CMS Women's Soccer in SCIAC Hunt

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's soccer team had its postseason hopes slipping away, trailing Redlands 1-0 with five minute to play, but then Ava Schmitt and Hannah Dearman-So struck for goals just 27 seconds apart in the 86th minute for a stunning turn of events, as the Athenas earned a dramatic 2-1 win on Wednesday evening at Pritzlaff Field to stay in control of their own postseason destiny.

CMS saw its record improve to 9-3-3, including 5-3-3 in the SCIAC with the victory, while Redlands fell to 6-8 and 5-6. With Occidental's win over Cal Lutheran this evening also making the Tigers 5-3-3, a loss would have eliminated the Athenas from the SCIAC Tournament, but a win keeps them in control of their own destiny, where a win over third-place Chapman on Saturday will put CMS ahead of the Panthers in the standings, regardless of how Occidental does in its finale against Caltech. Redlands, meanwhile, went from in control of its own destiny with five minutes left to eliminated in the span of 27 seconds. 

Schmitt was able to tie the score with 4:40 left on a 12-yard shot from inside the penalty area. Kaitlyn Helfrich sent a cross into traffic, leading to the ball being tipped away by the Redlands goalie, and Schmitt was able to win the battle to the loose ball and send it into the vacated net to tie the score at 1-1. 

Even before the celebration for the tying goal quieted down, Dearman-So added another goal 27 seconds later after she won a loose ball off a Redlands clearnace and blasted a low line drive into the right side of the net at the 85:47 mark, flipping a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in a matter of moments. 

It was the second game-winner for Dearman-So in as many games, after she scored her first career goal in the second half of a 1-0 win over UC Santa Cruz on Saturday. That game was a non-conference win, though, whereas this one had huge postseason implications for the Athenas.  

Tristen Sherley gave Redlands a 1-0 lead just 14:10 into the contest after she was able to get to a CMS clearance and find the back of the net just outside the box. CMS outshot Redlands 17-13, while Athena Manthouli had six saves on the night for CMS. 

The Athenas and the Bulldogs met once earlier this season, as Helfrich had two goals and an assist in the 4-3 road victory over Redlands on Sep. 16.

CMS will be back in action on Saturday when they end regular season SCIAC play with a road matchup against the Chapman Panthers at 7 p.m. CMS will likely need a win in that game in order to earn a SCIAC bid, depending on the result of the Occidental-Caltech game, which will be held at 11 a.m.