Sagehens Suffer 1-0 Loss to Whittier in SCIAC Final

Vanessa Blaylock PZ ’19 races against a Whittier soccer player for the ball during the final game of the SCIAC Women’s Soccer Championship on November 5th. (Akshaya Amarnath • The Student Life)

The Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer season came to a close on Saturday with a 1-0 loss to the Whittier Poets (12-8-0) in the SCIAC Championship. The Sagehens, who would’ve clinched a trip to the NCAA tournament with a win, finished the season with an overall record of 10-8-3.

The Sagehens reached the championship game by beating Redlands 2-1 in the semifinals. Whittier was the fourth seed entering the tournament, and pulled off a surprising upset of top-seeded California Lutheran University (15-3-2) in overtime before facing Pomona-Pitzer.

The game was tight the whole way through – both teams knew how much was on the line. At halftime the score was still 0-0. Each team got their fair share of shots, but neither was able to capitalize.

Midway through the second half, the Sagehens had their best chance to grab the lead. Unfortunately, a shot by Abby Onderwyzer Gold PO ‘18 soared just too high, bouncing off the crossbar.

Immediately after the near-miss, the Poets were on the attack. Just two minutes after Onderwyzer Gold’s shot, Whittier found the back of the net.

Playing from behind, the Sagehens were aggressive for the final 20 minutes, getting multiple shots on the goal. However, none found their mark, and Whittier was able to hold on for the victory.

While the Sagehens were unable to achieve their goal of another SCIAC Championship, they still had a very successful season. Their second place finish in the conference marked the sixth straight year they’d finished in the top four.

Molly Mosher PO ‘18 spoke of the adversity the team has faced this season. “Our preseason schedule included the number one and number two teams in Division-III, we had several player suffer from season-ending injuries, and we had a rocky second half of SCIAC.”

The Sagehens opened up conference play with a strong 6-2-1 start. But following two ties and three losses, P-P was left with a must-win game against Occidental (7-7-2) in the regular season finale to reach the tournament.

The team was able to regain its early-season success, beating Occidental and Redlands by a combined score of 5-1 before falling to Whittier.

“What makes this team special is how we've responded as a team together by staying positive, picking each other up, and continuing to fight,” said Mosher.

Saturday was the final game for the Sagehens’ five seniors. Although they didn’t win, they have all done an excellent job representing the colleges over the past four years.

The future looks bright for the returning members of the team. “I think our team is going to be really strong next year,” says Raye Gleekel PO ‘21. “We have a lot of strong and dedicated players coming back and everyone on our team is super excited and committed to working in the offseason on getting better and making next year another winning season.”