Defense Keys Tigers' Victory at Birmingham-Southern

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Colorado College took a major step toward its third consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season title with a 9-5 victory at Birmingham-Southern College on a stormy Friday night.

In a game that featured the top two scoring teams in the SCAC, the Tigers defense proved to be the difference.

With the score tied 4-4 after 30 minutes, CC allowed only four shots and one goal during the second half by the Panther squad that came into the game averaging a league-leading 31.71 shots and 18.29 goals per contest.

"It was an amazing individual effort by our close defense, in particular Ian Coughlan and Scott Prior," head coach Sean Woods said. "The guys really bought into the game plan and went out and executed."

Colorado College took control early in the second half when freshmen midfielders Dylan Davie and Henri Halle struck 3:04 apart to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead with 10:27 remaining in the third quarter.

That momentum was lost 34 seconds later when the teams were forced off the field for 30 minutes because of lightning, but CC was able to stretch its advantage to three goals when sophomore midfielder Jack Kreitler scored 16 seconds before the end of the frame.

Junior midfielder Brennan Ott gave BSC a boost when he notched his second goal 22 ticks into the fourth quarter, but that proved to be the last goal the Panthers would score.

The Tigers put the game away with tallies by senior long-pole defender Ian Coughlan midway through the period and a man-down goal by junior midfielder Steve Rijo with only 3:48 remaining in the game.

Freshman midfielder Kevin Wylie won 12 of 17 face-offs, including six of eight in the second half. He also grabbed a team-high six ground balls to help Colorado College post a 35-23 advantage.

"Kevin was huge," Woods said. "He really took control of the game, especially during the second half when we grabbed the momentum. We made those possessions count early in the third quarter and kind of kept the ball out of their hands in the second half. That allowed us to keep our defense fresh."

Sophomore goaltender Zach Steedman made four saves during the first half when Birmingham-Southern launched 15 of its 19 shots.

"Zach played very well," Woods said. "They only had him down for six saves, but he had a lot more than that."

Halle led the Tigers with a pair of goals, including his first game winner. Senior attackman Hunter Sprole recorded two assists.

Sophomore defender Will Harris and senior attacker Moses Taylor each scored late in the first period to put CC up 4-2, but the Panthers tied the contest at the end of the second quarter on markers from senior attackman D.J Ward and senior midfielder Jacob McPherson.

Junior goalie Andrew Huffman stopped eight shots in the first half to help keep the Panthers even after 30 minutes.

The Tigers improved to 4-0 in the SCAC and 5-2 overall. BSC slipped to 2-1 in conference play and 7-3 overall.

Colorado College visits Oglethorpe University on Sunday at noon.

2012-03-31



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