Athenas, Sagehens Fail to Convert, Play to a Scoreless Draw in Rematch

On a cool night Wednesday, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas women’s soccer team (3-3-3) played to a scoreless draw with their Claremont rivals, the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (5-2-1).

After the Sagehens conquered the Athenas 4-1 in their previous face-off, CMS were ready for redemption. Although the atmosphere was quiet to start the match, students and fans quickly piled into the stands at Pritzlaff Field to bring a classic electricity that can be found at any game between CMS and P-P.

Shaped in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Athenas came out aggressive, pressing the Sagehens whenever they had the ball. “We’ve been trying to press a lot all season so that was part of the game plan," CMS head coach Jennifer Clark. "I think the rivalry game makes it easier to keep intensity up,” .

After the game began to settle, the Sagehens chose a more linked formation of 4-1-4-1 and were able to connect passes from the defense to the midfield and control the pace of the game. “Winning balls, winning them more cleanly, connecting passes more quickly, and playing balls that were more effective allowed us to get into the game,” P-P head coach Jennifer Scanlon said after the match.

While the teams clashed with their opposing tactics, the game opened up with opportunities for each team to push forward. However, neither side could find the magical final pass in the offensive third to create a goal. The best chance for either team in the first half came in the 20th minute when CMS midfielder Sarah Malott CM ‘19 played a diagonal ball across the ground through the Sagehens’ penalty area. But Wren Olsen SC ‘18 had positioned herself poorly, and missed the opportunity to put the ball away. For the rest of the half, the teams traded possession back and forth, but were unable to create any real threatening chances from it.

After a tense first half, the game began to open up in the second, with teams beginning to trade shots back and forth. While CMS attacked down the sidelines with their outside players sending in crosses, PP tried to string together passes to open up the Athenas defense and find a forward in on goal.

In the 50th minute, midfielder Bria VarnBuhler PO ‘20 played a through ball to forward Vanessa Blaylock PZ ‘20, who fired a low driven shot. But goalie Claire Hamson CM ‘21 reacted quickly and saved the attempt. In the 63rd minute, a chip ball over Pomona-Pitzer’s center backs had forward Sarah Tocher CM ‘20 one-on-one with goalie Isa Berardo PZ ‘20. Tocher attempted to fire between the goalie's legs, but Berardo came up big, saving the shot.

Although teams were making final key passes in the second half, players were unable to put away chances, leading to a 0-0 score at the end of regulation.

The rivals then headed to overtime. During the extra period, both teams battled physically in the midfield but seemed to run out of steam as time ran on.

With almost three quarters of their season already weighing on their bodies, the players on both teams started to hit a wall and offenses stalled during overtime. With no serious chances created in either overtime half the game ended with a final score of 0-0 and the Athenas and Sagehens both took home a point.

This tie continues a good streak of performances for both teams. The Athenas have only lost one game in the previous seven while the Sagehens have only one defeat in their last nine matches. “We’ll take the point over zero obviously because every game is a grind and you don’t want to leave any points on the table”, Scanlon noted.

Currently both teams find themselves in the top half of the SCIAC and consequently are in position to advance to the SCIAC Tournament on Nov. 2.