Colorado College vs. Sewanee
April 27, 2012
The Game Story:
Colorado College used a dominating performance in the second half to record a 14-9 come-from-behind victory over Sewanee in the first semifinal game of the 2012 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship on Friday afternoon in Birmingham, Ala.

The top-seeded Tigers advance to Sunday's title match where they will face host Birmingham-Southern College with a berth in the NCAA Tournament on the line. The second-seeded Panthers defeated Centre College, 22-7, in the second semifinal.

“With this being the first dogfight we've been in for a while, we were gripping our sticks a little tight in the first half,” head coach Sean Woods said. “We were nervous. At halftime, I told our guys to take a deep breath and start doing the things we had been doing every day this week and in every game this year and we would work our way back for the victory.”

Trailing 6-4 after 30 minutes, it didn't take long for his players, in particular a pair of upperclassmen, to prove they were paying attention to their first-year mentor.

Junior midfielder Charles Curtis started the comeback one minute into the third quarter and senior attackman Hunter Sprole tied the game just 1:39 later.

Moments after CC tied the score, Sewanee had a pair of chances from point-blank range, but sophomore goaltender Zach Steedman came up with a pair of huge saves. That allowed the Rocky Mountain Tigers to take their first lead since early in the game on a tally by freshman midfielder Henri Halle midway through the frame.

“Steedman went from having a rough first half to playing the best half he's had all year,” Woods said. “He was lights out, and a couple of the saves were in tight. We scored a couple of goals to tie it up, and then he made a couple of big saves in succession right after that to give us some momentum.”

The University of the South pulled even on a goal by junior midfielder James Millard with 5:05 to play in the quarter, but junior attackman Steve Rijo put Colorado College ahead to stay and freshman midfielder Nick Ahrens gave his team a two-goal cushion for the first time with 49 seconds to play in the quarter.

Sewanee scored a pair of goals in the fourth quarter, but each time CC answered immediately with at least two of its own.

Senior attackman Jack Thomasson cut the Tennessee Tigers' deficit to 9-8 with 12:15 remaining in the game, but senior attacker Moses Taylor and sophomore defender Will Harris scored 79 seconds apart to give Colorado College an 11-8 lead with 9:36 to go.

Sewanee got a momentum boost when sophomore attacker Michael Morris struck for a man-down marker with 8:01 to play, but Sprole and sophomore attacker Jake Smith each found the net in a span of 12 seconds to give CC a 13-9 lead.

Sophomore midfielder Jack Kreitler iced the contest with an unassisted goal just 1:43 before the final horn.

“Hands down, it was the best second half we played all year,” Woods said. “We didn't make very many mistakes, our goalie stepped up and Sayre Thomas started winning faceoffs.”

Senior long-stick midfielder Zach Pierce caused five turnovers and grabbed a team-high eight ground balls. Thomas won eight of 12 faceoffs in the final 30 minutes and collected five ground balls.

Steedman was credited with nine saves, all of which occurred in the second half.

Sophomore goalie Tommy Healy finished with 16 saves for Sewanee, which finished the year with a 12-5 record.

“Sewanee is probably the best No. 4 seed this tournament has ever had,” Woods said. “You could argue they were the No. 2 seed, but this is the way it played out. We embraced playing them tonight. We knew we would have to win two tough games.

“We needed this game. We needed a tight game to get our competitive edge back. It's been a while since we had a dog fight, and since we responded well to adversity, we proved to ourselves we can win tight games. We didn't play our best ball early, but we really turned it around when we had to and that will certainly help us on Sunday.