Birchard's Two Penalty Kicks Give CMS Men's Soccer 2-0 Win over Texas Lutheran in NCAA Opening Round

CMS celebrates one of William Birchard's two penalty kick goals (photo courtesy of Trinity Univ.)
CMS celebrates one of William Birchard's two penalty kick goals (photo courtesy of Trinity Univ.)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Junior William Birchard converted two first-half penalty kicks as the No. 13 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's soccer team opened up NCAA Tournament play with a 2-0 win over Texas Lutheran on Saturday afternoon at Trinity University.

With the win, CMS improves to 15-3-2 this season (and 30-5-3 over the last years combined) and moves on to face host Trinity tomorrow in the regional finals. CMS and Trinity met earlier this season, with CMS taking a 3-1 win over the Tigers behind two goals from sophomore Ethan Tyng.

CMS got the early lead just 7:08 into the contest after senior Adam Singer had a shot saved by the Texas Lutheran defense moments before a foul was called in the penalty area. Birchard stepped to the spot, and slotted home the first goal of the contest in only the eighth minute. 

History would repeat itself just 15 minutes later, when CMS picked up another penalty kick opportunity, and once again, Birchard was able to convert at the 22:08 mark to make it a 2-0 lead. 

CMS had the first nine shots of the game, before Texas Lutheran finally missed wide at the 41:00 mark of the first half. Sophomore goalie Eduardo De Anda was called on to make his first save in the second minute of the second half to keep the score 2-0. It was his only save of the contest, as the Stags finished with an 18-6 advantage in overall shots and a 14-3 advantage in corner kicks. 

De Anda earned the shutout to remain undefeated in his college career in net at 9-0-1 this season. He didn't play at all as a freshman, as current sophomore Jacob Mays played every minute and led the nation in goals against average at 0.22. This year, the duo has shared time in net all season, with both continuing the strong defensive tradition. 

CMS will take on Trinity tomorrow at 1 p.m. (Pacific) for the right to advance to the Round of 16. The Stags are making their first NCAA appearance since 2012, when they lost to Trinity 3-1 in the opening round. CMS last won an NCAA contest the year before, when it defeated Chapman (which was an independent at the time) before dropping a second-round contest to SCIAC rival Redlands.