ORANGE, Calif. – If the road to the SCIAC men's soccer title was supposed to go through defending champs Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, then Chapman University drove a Mack Truck right through a stop sign on Saturday night. The first-place Panthers won their fourth in a row, handing the visiting Stags a 5-1 defeat at Wilson Field to remain unbeaten in conference play.
In what had been a closely-contested 2-1 match late in the second half, Chapman (4-1 overall, 4-0 SCIAC) scored three goals in the final 12 minutes to make it lopsided. Senior D Anthony Fernandez began the onslaught with his first goal of the season, shooting and benefiting from a redirection off a Claremont defender to find the back of the net in 79th minute.
Nine minutes later, sophomore D Connor Tobia headed a shot past Stags' GK Alex Choi off a cross from freshman D Kannon Kuhn to make it 4-1 in favor of Chapman. Less than a minute later, Panthers' sophomore F Cole Peters added the finishing touch with his first goal of the year on an assist from sophomore M Sam Rudich. It was Rudich's second helper of the night and team-leading third of the year.
In the first half, Chapman and CMS played even throughout nearly the entire 45 minutes, although the Panthers' speed up top gave them many more scoring opportunities and they out-shot the Stags 9-2 in the period. Chapman sophomore F Marco Saglimbeni and CMS's Mehron Abdi traded goals in the first 12 minutes to keep the score even at 1-1.
However, Chapman threw a big punch late as Saglimbeni scored his second goal of the game with just three seconds remaining in the half, getting behind the Claremont defense and knocking it past Choi. That gave the Panthers a 2-1 advantage at halftime it would not relinquish. The goal marked Saglimbeni's second multi-goal game of the season and third game-winning goal. He has scored a goal in three of Chapman's four SCIAC matches – all wins.
Chapman will try to keep its winning streak alive when it hosts Cal Lutheran University on Monday night at 7 p.m. at Wilson Field in another SCIAC matchup.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director