First ever Sixth Street women’s soccer SCIAC final sees Sagehens win third consecutive championship

A Pomona-Pitzer
Sagehen Hanna Kim PO ’23 winds up for a deep pass as Kaitlyn Helfrich CM ’25 trails on Pomona-Pitzer’s way to a 3-0 victory in first ever Sixth Street SCIAC Championship game. (Wendy Zhang • The Student Life)

Sixth Street was paved blue and orange Saturday afternoon as Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) women’s soccer wrote another chapter in the longstanding history of 5C athletics.

P-P blanked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) 3-0 to claim their third consecutive SCIAC tournament championship and earn an automatic draw in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The matchup was the first time the conference playoffs have seen a Sixth Street final in its 17-year history. 

Right out of the gate, the Sagehens launched an offensive onslaught that immediately proved effective. Before the clock hit even four minutes, Hannah Hong PO ’26 delivered a pass in front of the goal, which Amanda Khu PO ’25 headed into the goal to give P-P an early 1-0 lead. 

Khu stressed the necessity of applying pressure early.

“Last time we played CMS we drew 0-0, so breaking the wall to score was really important, especially for this game,” Khu said.”[It] felt really great and gave us the start we needed.”

Though the Athenas looked determined to limit P-P — the conference’s most prolific offense — repeated turnovers in their defensive zone gave the Sagehens more opportunities than they needed.

After forcing CMS to give up the ball near the Athenas’ net, P-P set up a corner kick. The Sagehens did not let it go to waste, as Hong once again sent a beautiful pass that defender Genevieve Gray PO ’23 headed into the goal, extending the Sagehens’ lead to 2-0. 

According to Hong, the play was perfected before the Sagehens even hit the field.

“It was a set play,” Hong said. “I’ve been working on my corner kicks, getting that ball near the back post of the goal. It got us riled up and gave us the energy to score another one.”

Gray’s goal was not only her first of the season, but of her entire four-year career as a Sagehen. 

“I think it’s like a buildup of my whole career here, but I think the best part is getting to share it with my teammates who’ve been here with me all along the way,” Gray said. “It was a great feeling.”

The two- goal lead seemed to take the wind out of the Athenas’ sails, and with the 5C crowd coming together to perform a wave, the whistle sounded.

The second half began with two excellent opportunities for the Athenas, as referees called the Sagehens offside twice. Jumping on these errors, CMS avoided turning it over in their zone, but could not get a solid shot.

Feeding off of their defensive performance, P-P pushed deep into Athenas’ territory, setting up an elaborate offensive possession. Hannah Mandell PO ’23 headed the ball to Hong, who then headed it directly to Ella Endo PO ’25, who kicked it in for the easy goal, giving the Sagehens a commanding 3-0 lead.

With nothing to lose, CMS put together a final push, but even with the game virtually in their hands, P-P refused to relent. 

Head coach Jennifer Scanlon said she prepared her team to fight until the final whistle.

“We’ve worked on our tactics a lot the last week or two on how to close out games even with a lead,” Scanlon said. “The understanding of both the mindset and the tactics that go into that and executing it … I thought we did a really good job of that today.”

As the clock counted down, the roar of the P-P crowd and the sighs of the CMS faithful became the backdrop of the Sagehens’ celebratory huddle.

With her goal in this game and one in the semifinals, Khu earned the tournament’s most valuable player award. 

“Honestly, I had a kind of a tough season,” Khu said. “I didn’t score for a bunch of games, and the last three I’ve been able to get back into it.”

For Scanlon, the victory was not just momentous for her team, but for her own career, marking her 200th win as head coach of P-P women’s soccer.  

“It never gets old, and I don’t take it for granted,” said Scalon. “I can think back on all the years and all the players and coaches who’ve helped contribute to that … But each one is different, each one is special and I’m pretty happy for this group for sure.”

For the Athenas, this game was no doubt a heartbreaker. 

CMS forward Cate Lewison HM ’26, who for her regular season performance took home the SCIAC’s Newcomer of the Year award, looks forward to the team’s future.

“The seniors this year have built a great foundation for this program,” Lewison said. “They’ve put so much effort into creating a great culture within our team, and that’s one reason we were so successful this season.”

In the NCAA tournament, Khu said she is most looking forward to playing another game with this roster.

“It’s a really special group of people,” she said. “All of us want to keep it going as long as we can.”

The Sagehens are traveling to San Antonio, Texas to play Trinity University on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

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