Athenas Shut Out Both of Their Opponents to Earn Two Victories

They say a team that sticks together wins together, and for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s soccer team, who played two games this week in honor of their eight seniors graduating after this season, unity was the key to success.

“We’ve been doing well during the season, and although we’ve had a couple of bumps along the way, we came together today,” defender Gabby Ozer CM ’15 said about their Saturday game. “We made the notion that we had to push for each other and be there and be reliable for each other at all times.”

CMS (13-5-1, 10-3 SCIAC) celebrated Senior Day on Saturday, Oct. 25, in their second-to-last home match this season against the University of Redlands (9-6-2, 6-5-2). In their last meeting, CMS lost 3-2 after two grueling overtimes. But this time, they were able to regroup and get a couple more wins under their wing before coming back prepared to avenge their loss and shut out the Bulldogs 2-0.

“We did a better job organizing and defending against them,” head coach Keri Sanchez said. “They’ve got some speed, and they’re aggressive and a really good team, so we’re excited that we did well against them.”

As if shutting out their rivals wasn’t enough to celebrate on this special day, it was only fitting that the two goals came from two seniors. Just seven minutes into the first half, Sara Tweedy HM ’15 scored off of an assist by Ozer right past the goalie’s arms. This was her second goal of the season and of her career.

“On senior day you want to make sure you keep your emotions in check but use it to try and get a win,” Sanchez said. “It was super exciting seeing two seniors putting the ball in the net.”

In the second half, after a shot by Katelyn Faust CM ’17 ricocheted off the cross bar, Ozer took advantage of an out-of-position keeper and drilled one into the corner, her first of the season and second of her career.

“My back was to the goal, but I was like, I want to shoot this,” Ozer said.

She was all smiles after the game and attributed the big win to the entire team for their commitment to come together and ability to pump each other up in the locker room before the game. 

“We have more confidence in our passes and in each other,” Ozer said. “Today we played more as a cohesive team and had more passion. We want to be there for each other and win a championship.”

Goalie Molly Freed SC ’15 also did her part in the win by saving eight shots on goal.

This win put CMS in a good position for the SCIAC tournament, in which they are currently seeded at No. 1.

“If we can continue to win, we can control our destiny in terms of winning a conference championship,” Sanchez said. “But we have two tough games coming up in order to do that.”

The Athenas next played against Chapman University (7-9-2, 3-8-2 SCIAC) on Wednesday, Oct. 29, and took care of business just as Coach Sanchez had said, defeating them 2-0.

Halfway through the first half, Chapman unintentionally scored a goal off of a pass by Darrah Shields CM ’16. In the second half, Makella Brems CM ’17 got an easy goal past the keeper during a penalty kick as a result of a Panther yellow card.

Brems, who leads the Athenas in goals this season with seven total, was proud of her team for working more cohesively than they have been in previous matches.

“I’m feeling really good about this game,” Brems said. “Everyone put in 100 percent. You can tell we’re all playing with the same goal in mind.”

Even though the Athenas were up 2-0, they continued to play strong through the end of the game with reserves finishing the game out. They saw many good opportunities to score, like Ozer’s shot with under five minutes to go that barely hit the top of the cross bar, only a few inches away from making it in the goal. 

This momentum continues to carry the Athenas to the end of their season and will be much needed when they face Pomona-Pitzer (9-5-4, 7-2-4 SCIAC) for the last showdown before playoffs.

Brems says they will focus on pressure defense and play "with heart, like we always do.”

In their last meeting, CMS defeated P-P 3-0, but the rivalry can always bring something unexpected.

“We’re just stoked,” Brems said. “We’re ready to take them. We want to keep this momentum going as long as we can.”

The Sagehen-Athena battle will take place Saturday, Nov. 1, at 11:00 a.m. at Pomona.