In a game so close that it needed not just extra time, but penalty kicks to be decided, the Chapman women’s soccer team defeated the top-seeded Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens Nov. 2 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) semifinal.
Neither team was able to score a goal in regulation time or extra time, but Chapman edged out Pomona-Pitzer by a 1-0 margin in penalty kicks thanks to a successful penalty from senior midfielder Katie Bell and five penalty saves from senior goalkeeper Kristin Kleinow. The win advances the team to the SCIAC championships.
“I feel like it’s finally coming together for us,” said head coach Courtney Calderon. “We’ve known we could do it, but to have players step up, take the penalty kicks for us, let freshmen step up for us, it was great to see us do everything together as a team. Tonight, we did everything as a team well.”
Although the Sagehens had the majority of the shots during the game, the Panthers were able to defend well enough to bring the game to penalties and earn the win. Throughout the course of the 110 minutes, Pomona-Pitzer had 19 shots and four saves, while Chapman had eight shots and 10 saves.
After the two overtime periods, the score was still 0-0 and the two teams headed into penalties. Both teams could not put the ball into the back of the net until Bell stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty kick.
“It feels really good to have put that penalty kick away, but I really couldn’t have done it without our goalkeeper Kristin Kleinow putting us in the spot that she did,” Bell said. “She saved all five of their penalty kicks and that was huge.”
After Bell converted her penalty, the Sagehens missed their next and final penalty, and the Panthers earned their spot in the SCIAC finals.
Kleinow said the final stages of the game were a whirlwind.
“I was nervous but had such an adrenaline rush,” Kleinow said. “I didn’t even realize that it was over until I saw my teammates rushing to me.”
Besides going to the SCIAC finals, the players are reveling in beating the first place team in the conference.
“I’m beyond excited,” Kleinow said. “We put in so much work to get to this point and I’m so proud that we are going to the finals. It feels amazing to get the win. We wanted it more and did not give up. We kept pushing for the entire game.”
Senior defender Kira Doting also said she was excited to make it this far into the postseason.
“I am so excited to go into the championship game,” Doting said. “This is the first time for us seniors making it this far. We are playing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and just like Pomona, we have yet to beat them. We are in a great position because they have no idea what is coming for them on Saturday. We are on a high from this huge semifinal win and will continue this positivity and energy into the championship game.”
Calderon said the team needs to assess some techniques before the championship game.
“We’re going to go back to the drawing board and see what we did well against them (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) last time, and what we need to improve in order to get a victory,” Calderon said.
The women’s soccer team will travel to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday, Nov. 5 in the SCIAC championship game. The time has yet to be set.