UPSETS ALL ROUND
The No. 4 Panthers upset the SCIAC regular season champs and top seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Thursday evening. After a scoreless regulation and overtime, Chapman beat the nationally-ranked Stags 5-4 in penalty kicks. That was not the only upset of the night. No. 3-seed Occidental traveled to No. 2 Redlands for the other semifinal match in which the Tigers earned a 1-0 victory to upset the higher-seeded Bulldogs.
Chapman and Occidental have met twice this season, with each squad winning on their home turfs. The Panthers earned a 2-1 victory on Wilson Field back in September with the help of goals from junior Ryan Onart and senior James Tribbey. The last time the two teams faced off the Tigers prevailed in double overtime after Occidental found the back of the net in the 105th minute.
THEY'RE JUST FRESHMEN
Chandler Siemonsma and Aidan Wall might be freshman, but they made a couple of crucial plays in the semifinal match when it mattered most for the Panthers. Siemonsma saved the Stags' fourth penalty kick, setting Wall up to finish off the top seed. Wall converted with a laser into the back of the net, sending Chapman sprinting onto the field and into the championship match.
The Tigers have one key factor on their side – SCIAC Athlete of the Year Liam Walsh. The senior striker has scored nearly 40 percent of Occidental's goals this year and ranks 15th in the nation in total goals this season. Walsh helped the Tigers to a double overtime victory over the Panthers earlier this season when he netted the game-winner with just over five minutes left to play in the match. The SCIAC goals and points leader has scored against every conference team this season except one – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
This is the first time in program history that Chapman and Occidental are facing off in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. The Panthers have earned a spot in the playoffs in six of the last seven years since joining the conference in 2012. This is just Occidental's third appearance in the same time span. Chapman has moved on to two championship matches, while the Tigers have never made it past the semifinal match since the Panthers joined the SCIAC.