(Story courtesy of Colorado College)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado College and Birmingham-Southern, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively, will play for the 2011 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship thanks to semifinal wins on Friday. The CC Tigers downed Southwestern while Birmingham-Southern beat Sewanee for the second time in a week. Box Score | Official Site
Semifinal One Recap
Colorado College took another step toward its first-ever NCAA tournament bid on Friday.
CC, riding a three-goal performance by freshman attackman Jake, Smith, roared back from an early 2-0 deficit to claim a 10-4 victory over Southwestern University in the semifinals of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference playoffs at Washburn Field.
The Tigers, now 11-0 overall for the season, can claim the league's first-ever playoff title and earn an automatic NCAA bid on Sunday, when they meet Birmingham-Southern College in the SCAC championship game at noon MT.
"We're happy to be playing,” said head coach Guy Van Arsdale. “It's a big deal, an opportunity for this program that's never been there to have complete self-determination in terms of the NCAA tournament. We know that if we win on Sunday we're going. That's a wonderful thing to have. I think the big thing for us will be how we handle the weight of that kind of background to the game, knowing what's at stake.”
Birmingham-Southern defeated Sewanee: University of the South by a 9-7 count in the other semifinal matchup later on Friday.
Southwestern's Pirates, who finished fourth in the SCAC standings, grabbed their early lead on goals 4:13 apart midway through the first quarter by Gus Brunger and Edward Williams. CC didn't get on the scoreboard until Carson Christman converted on his own rebound with 12.9 seconds left in the period.
The Tigers evened the count on an unassisted effort by Charles Curtis at 1:03 of the second frame.
Junior midfielder James Mauk set up Smith's first tally of the contest at 9:25, putting Colorado College ahead to stay. Moses Taylor and Smith struck at 10:07 and 11:12, respectively, as CC scored three times in a span of 1:47 before Williams pulled Southwestern to within 5-3 at halftime.
Junior goalie Chris O'Quain, who finished with 25 saves, kept the visitors close until the Tigers bumped their lead to 8-4 on a pair of goals by Jack Kreitler and Steve Rijo in the final four minutes of the third period. Kreitler and Rijo added unassisted goals midway through the fourth quarter to make it 10-4.
“Southwestern did a nice job of preparing and took away our transition game,” Van Arsdale said. “They conceded the clear, got back in and sat in the zone. Then they relied on the goaltender to keep them in the game, and he did. I never felt we were in danger of not getting the outcome we wanted. It's just [a matter of] how we got there.”
Christman collected a pair of assists to go with his early goal. Freshman goaltender Zach Steedman made five saves in the Colorado College nets.
Semifinal Two Recap
Thanks in no small measure to Matt Ivie and D.J. Ward, Birmingham-Southern College will be playing for its first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship crown on Sunday.
Ivie scored four goals and Ward added three on Friday night, leading the Panthers to a 9-7 victory over Sewanee: University of The South in the SCAC semifinals at Colorado College's Washburn Field. The triumph vaulted them into Sunday's title contest at noon against undefeated regular-season champion and host CC.
Birmingham-Southern, which improved to 9-6 overall for the season, struck twice in the opening 3:25 of play to grab a quick 2-0 lead.
But it wasn't until the 6:58 mark of the fourth quarter, when Ward beat Sewanee goaltender Tommy Healy from in close on the left side, that favored BSC went ahead to stay at 7-6. That was Ward's third tally of the contest, and when Ivie added his third just four seconds later, the Tigers were toast.
Ivie's fourth of the night iced the win with 9.6 seconds left to play.
Sophomore goalie Andrew Huffman backstopped the triumph with 12 saves in the Panther nets. Sewanee's Tommy Healy, a freshman, finished with 14.
Healy's teammates rallied from their early deficit to pull even on goals 3:35 apart in the opening period by Thomasson, who had two goals and two assists for the night, and Brendan Eisenbrandt. After the teams battled to a 4-4 deadlock at halftime, the Tigers grabbed leads of 5-4 and 6-5 in the third quarter on tallies by Thomas Moore at 2:40 and Thomasson at 6:29.
Ward's second goal knotted the affair at 6-6 with 9:04 remaining.