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Riley Zitar tied the game in the 81st minute for CMS (photo by Ruby Marks)
Riley Zitar tied the game in the 81st minute for CMS (photo by Ruby Marks)

CMS Women's Soccer Falls in SCIAC Semifinals on Late Penalty Kick

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Riley Zitar tied the score for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's soccer team with just under 10 minutes to play on a 25-yard blast, but Pomona-Pitzer earned a late penalty kick on a hand ball in the box and converted with 1:59 left to take a 2-1 win over the Athenas in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Semifinals at Pomona-Pitzer Soccer Stadium.

With the win, Pomona-Pitzer remains undefeated at 14-0-3 and moves on to the SCIAC finals on Saturday against either Cal Lutheran or Chapman. CMS ends its season with a 7-7-3 final record. 

Hannah Hong opened the scoring for the Sagehens in the 29th minute when she sent a long-range blast into the upper-right corner. That goal held for over 50 minutes until Zitar struck for the equalizer, making something out of seemingly nothing. Zitar took a shot on a bouncing ball with her body turned 90 degrees from goal facing the sideline, and managed to place it perfectly into the upper-left corner, as Sagehen goalie Patricia DePalma got her fingertips to it, but could only deflect it under the crossbar and in. 

The game seemed destined for overtime, but Pomona-Pitzer was able to break into the right edge of the CMS penalty area and lay a pass back for an open shot inside the top of the box. An Athena defender scrambled and leapt in the air to block the shot, but it hit off her arm and the play was whistled dead for a penalty kick. 

CMS goalkeeper Sadie Brown guessed correctly and dove at full extension to her left, nearly making a season-saving stop, but Spencer Deutz placed the shot perfectly into the side netting inside the right post to break the 1-1 tie with less than two minutes left. 

Opportunities were rare throughout the game, as the Sagehens finished with a 7-6 edge in shots, including the penalty kick, while Brown had two saves and DePalma had one. Corner kicks were also limited to just two apiece. 

CMS will be in strong position to contend for the SCIAC title next season, with second-team All-SCIAC midfielder Laurel Ovenell the only senior on this season's roster. First-team All-SCIAC selections Kaitlyn Helfrich, Tori Holden and Annie McKinley will lead next year's senior class, while Brown will be back in goal after earning second-team All-SCIAC distinction.