Stags squeeze by Kingsmen on last-second goal

On Oct. 24 the Kingsmen of California Lutheran University played against the Stags of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at William Rolland Stadium.

After battling hard on the field for 90 minutes, the game was over when the Stags scored their second goal with only three seconds left on the clock giving the Kingsmen no opportunity for a return and ending the game with a 2-1 win in favor of the Stags.

The first half of the game was an even play between the Kingsmen and the Stags with many chances of scoring for both teams. With 41 seconds left on the clock in the first half of the game, the Stags earned a penalty kick putting them in the lead 1-0 after the first half.

“That penalty kick was very questionable,” Head Coach Dan Kuntz said. “That was tough on us because it was a good game up until that point.”

As the fans in the stands cheered on the Kingsmen throughout the game, the players continued to battle on the field for a goal to tie the score.

In the second half of the game, the Kingsmen had many opportunities to score and with nine minutes left on the clock, sophomore forward Brandon Kearney scored for the Kingsmen tying the score at 1-1 and making the Kingsmen fans ecstatic in the stands. Only five minutes after their goal the Kingsmen saw yet another opportunity to score, but the Stags goalie was able to make a clutch save.
Kuntz said the Kingsmen should have tried harder to finish the play and put the ball in the net.

“We got to put the ball in the back of the net. We had a couple chances to do that, and we need to do that,” Kuntz said. “The other thing is we gave away a shot at the end of the game, and we can’t give away shots at the 18th and that was what cost [us] the game.”

The last second goal was another heartbreaker for the Kingsmen, the third time a game-clinching goal was scored against them this season.

“We were pressuring them and outplaying them all game. It was just unfortunate that at the very end that one player shot off and it hit the post and went in at the back of the net,” senior defender Logan Cone said. “There’s not much you can do about that. We played hard all night, we outplayed them for most of the game and it was just unlucky at the end.”

The last-second goal silenced the otherwise rowdy Kingsmen fans.

“My heart breaks for our guys,” Kuntz said. “The game is 90 minutes and at 89.57 that goal came in.”

In the final minutes of a long game where both teams are eager to score a goal, anything can happen, and unfortunately for the Kingsmen they were the victims of yet another heartbreaking loss.

“I think the biggest thing is to keep the ball and with that little time left, try not to let them get the ball to their half of the field. Try to run the clock out and get to overtime and get a win there,” Cone said.

The Kingsmen managed to follow through with their game plan and to make their coach proud even with a devastating loss in the final seconds.

“I’m proud of our players because they kept their game plan and they worked very hard,” Kuntz said. “It’s been one of those very difficult seasons and it’s very easy to just wash away, but we didn’t. We are staying in it battling and staying together and I’m very proud of that.”

The Kingsmen fought hard against the Stags and had plenty of chances to score and to control the game.

“It was a well-fought game and we controlled a lot of possession,” senior defender Tal Zaiet said. “Style of play, we pretty much established our style on the game and imposed ourselves on the opponent.”

Zaiet said he thought the Kingsmen did a good job but there are always improvements that can be done for next time.

“Finishing in the final third, you can always improve that,” Zaiet said. “You can always improve, but overall it was a well-fought game and I couldn’t ask more of my teammates.”

The next game for the Kingsmen will be at William Rolland Stadium on Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. against Caltech.

Karoline Johannessen
Staff Writer
Published October 28th, 2015