Athenas confident due to strong first-year class

Nicole Oberlag HM ’22 fights for possession during the Athena’s home soccer game vs. Redlands Sept. 22. The Athenas lost the game 3-1. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

Despite the fact that the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-3, 4-2 SCIAC) women’s soccer team went 1-1 over the past week, including a tough loss at home vs. Redlands (5-3-1, 4-1-1 SCIAC), they have high hopes for the rest of the season due to a strong group of first-years on the team.

In the match against Redlands Sept. 22, the Bulldogs got off to a fast start and never looked back. It only took two minutes for Bulldog senior Hayley Romo to score the first goal of the game — marking the beginning of a tough match for the Athenas.

While CMS responded quickly with a goal from Rhiann Holman CM ’20 in the 14th minute to equalize the score, this proved to be one of few bright spots for the Athenas, as Redlands would take advantage of their opportunities and eventually persevere toward a win, ending the game with a final score of 3-1.

“Redlands’ second goal was a long shot, and they scored pretty quickly,” Isabel Steiffer SC ’21 said on the loss. “They came out really hard, and they finished their chances in a way that was hard to bounce back from.”

Despite the final score, head coach Jennifer Clark was satisfied with the team’s overall performance and group work. When asked if she could award a player of the game, Clark struggled to pick out a specific Athena.

Nicole Oberlag HM ’22 chases down the ball during the CMS women’s soccer game Sept. 22 vs. Redlands. The Athenas lost the game 3-1. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

“The beauty of the game tonight was that we all played well together,” she said.

However, Clark added that while the Athenas competed together, they didn’t connect enough to have a chance to take the match.

After this loss, the Athenas’ record dropped to 3-2 in the conference. However, CMS was able to bounce back Wednesday and take down Chapman (5-6, 2-4 SCIAC) at home 1-0.

Holman again provided the only goal for the Athenas, this time sending one home in the 63rd minute. The CMS defense was able to pitch a shutout for the entire match, and ended up holding on for the one-goal victory, despite Chapman’s 18-14 lead in shots.

While the Athenas wanted to go 2-0 in these two home matches, the loss against Redlands had little impact on the team’s morale and enthusiasm as they move forward in the season. In fact, Steiffer said that the defining moment of the game was not the score, but rather that they had a large amount of first-years who played well.

Grace Pratt CM ’21 goes for the goal during the Athenas’ home soccer game Sept 22. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

As of this year, the Athenas had 13 new first-years join the soccer team. Clark’s decision to recruit a large number of first-years was one that worried veteran soccer players in the beginning. However, according to goalkeeper Claire Hamson CM ’21, it is a decision that she is beginning to appreciate.

“The large amount of first-year students lets us have an incredible depth to our team,” she said. “Having this many players allows us to create a different team on the field depending on who we are playing and how we are playing.”

Hamson added that this versatility was demonstrated when Clark substituted out one of the Athena veterans and put in defender Gracyn Buenconsejo HM ’22. Hamson said that Buenconsejo created a new dynamic, which she said will be essential for the team’s future success.

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