Cole Smith's Golden Goal Gives No. 8 CMS Men's Soccer a 2-1 win over Saint Thomas

The Stags celebrate the golden goal in the second overtime of a 2-1 win over Saint Thomas (photo by Daniel Addison)
The Stags celebrate the golden goal in the second overtime of a 2-1 win over Saint Thomas (photo by Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior forward Cole Smith headed in a corner kick from junior back William Birchard with 4:05 left in the second overtime as the No. 8-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's soccer team captured its home opener with a dramatic 2-1 win over Saint Thomas on Friday evening at Pritzlaff Field.

With the win, the Stags emerged from a difficult non-conference schedule with a 3-2 record and a No. 8 ranking. CMS began the year with a double-overtime loss to Oglethorpe (currently No. 3 in the nation) and a 1-0 road win over Emory. The Stags then picked up a big 3-1 win over No. 9 Trinity and fell on the road 1-0 on a late goal to UT Dallas. 

CMS had to regroup after another late goal denied it a regulation win. With just under four minutes remaining, the Tommies had a corner kick, and sophomore goalie Eduardo De Anda came off his line to punch it away. The ball fell to Ethan Andersen, who put a low shot on net, but Birchard was able to clear it off the line with a lunging kick. For the second time in rapid succession, though, the ball found its way onto the foot of a Saint Thomas player off a deflection, and this time, Isaac Eckroth was able to put it into the roof of the net from inside the six-yard box to level the score. 

The game-winner then came for CMS off a corner kick from the same end of the field with just 4:05 left in the second overtime. Borchard took the kick and bent an inswinger in towards the top of the six-yard box. Smith was the first one to it, and he placed a perfect header inside the far post, giving CMS the golden goal and the win its home opener. 

"Just run and jump and hope for the best," said Smith of his mindset on the late corner kick. "I honestly didn't think that it was in, but I watched it the whole way and it honestly felt good when it went in."

CMS took a 1-0 lead in the first half, as sophomore William Barton found the net in the 15th minute. Junior midfielder Nate Huntington played a long ball up the left side, and Barton was able to get on the back end of it. With Saint Thomas goalie Sean Teske off his line, Barton half-volleyed a lob over Teske's head, that bounced inside the six-yard box and into the back of the net, which held up as the game-winner until the very end of regulation.

Barton very nearly had himself a two-goal game and the game-winner in the first overtime, as he cracked a dipping one-timer from just outside the top of the 18-yard box that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced straight down but stayed out of the net. Saint Thomas had a good chance of its own at the very end of the first overtime, as Jack Barry sent a long throw-in into the box that ended up at the feet of Jacob Makela, but Makela's shot missed just wide of the left post as the final seconds ticked off from the first overtime session. 

DeAnda had four saves for CMS in his first career start, while Birchard added one as a defender.  Saint Thomas held a narrow 17-13 edge in shots for the game, while CMS had a 6-4 edge in corner kicks, including the decisive one in the second overtime session. 

CMS will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Cal Lutheran to open SCIAC play with a road game at 7 p.m.