‘Henergy’ filled the air when the Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer team defeated the Redlands Bulldogs with a decisive 4-1 victory on Wednesday.
The Sagehens had been preparing for this game the week prior knowing the stakes were bigger than many of their previous games. Lottie Dierks PZ ’26 said that because it was a SCIAC home game against a fierce opponent, the team had high expectations for themselves.
“We’re all really excited and motivated going into the game,” Dierks said. “Although we won on Saturday, we still haven’t seen our best potential yet because we haven’t been pushed there. We’re really looking forward to playing a bigger competitor and we want to prove we’re up for the challenge.”
They proved so by scoring two goals in the first 35 minutes of the game.
The first goal began with a run from Hannah Mandell PO ’23 who dribbled the ball to the end line just right of the Bulldogs’ goal. Mandell then cut back and served a cross into the box. Kendrick Dahlin PO ’26 was in just the right spot and volleyed the ball to finish.
Only five minutes after the Sagehens got on the scoreboard, they did it again. This time, Eliana Prosnitz PO ’25 was the catalyst. She ripped a shot outside of the box and an attempted deflection from a Redlands defender guided the ball into the back of the net, lifting the Sagehens lead to 2-0.
During their Tuesday practice before the game, the Sagehens discussed their goals for the next day. Anjuli Turner PZ ’25 said that the team would focus on energy and defense.
“We had a talk about getting the ‘henergy’ up,” Turner said. “We also talked about getting more pumped for games in general, and we discussed focusing on the smaller stuff because that’s what counts. As for specifics, we have a goal to not get scored on at home.”
Overall, the Sagehens lived up to their expectations. They dominated the Bulldogs throughout the first half and held possession for most of it. A palpable energy fueled their play, and they had multiple chances that missed just wide. However, the Sagehens fell short of their hope for a shutout.
In the 44th minute, just before the end of the first half, the Bulldogs scored, slipping a shot into the corner of the Sagehens’ net. The first half ended 2-1, with the Sagehens in the lead.
This season, the Sagehens have consistently implemented a “half-and-half” goalkeeper strategy, splitting each game between two players. Wednesday’s game continued that trend, as coming out of halftime, Taylor Kane PZ ’25, subbed in for Naomi Meurice PO ’25.
This move did not come into play for some time, however, as the second half began with the two teams battling it out at midfield. Although the Bulldogs hoped to use the momentum of their first goal by moving the ball downfield, they only managed two scoring attempts, both of which ended with the ball sailing wide of the goal.
This strong defense allowed for P-P to push into Redlands territory, earning a corner kick. Unfortunately for the Sagehens, this opportunity to extend their lead turned up empty, as they returned the ball to the Bulldogs, giving them a chance to tie the game.
Taking the ball past midfield and nearing the P-P goal, a Redlands player entered a one-on-one situation with Kane. In a heads-up move, she ran straight at the ball, diving on it and preventing even an attempt at a shot.
“For all three goalies on this team, we have this mentality,” said Kane. “It’s our box, it’s our [18-yard line]. We’re gonna go for everything. Come in strong, do our job and take care of our space.”
This stop seemed to swell up momentum among the Sagehens, as not long after, the ball returned to the feet of Prosnitz. Just past midfield, Prosnitz saw an opening and took it, knocking herself over with a booming kick arcing just over the head of the Bulldogs’ keeper.
“As I was falling, I was like, ‘Please, God,’ honestly,” Prosnitz said. “It was a bit lucky I think, but just having the confidence to take those shots is something I’ve been working on.”
Following the score, P-P dominated possession time. In the second half, the Sagehens outshot the Bulldogs 13-1, many of which were near misses in the wake of Prosnitz’s goal.
Even though the Bulldogs looked all but put to rest, they managed a last-gasp attempt at a comeback. Putting some serious pressure on the Sagehens, Redlands looked poised to at least cut the lead to one, but this was ultimately futile. As the Bulldogs sent a pass that would’ve set up a point-blank shot from in front of the goal, Kane dove and smacked the ball out of harm’s way, solidifying her 45-minute shutout.
“Going into the second half, the whole team came in with a strong mentality of keeping our game together and playing our game,” Kane said. “[I was] playing hard on defense and everyone was there with me, keeping it all together until the last whistle.”
To add insult to injury, Melanie Ng PO ’25 iced the game in the 88th minute with her first goal of the season to finish off the game 4-1.
Just like the game’s defensive star, Kane, its offensive standout, Prosnitz, came off the bench. The midfielder emphasized the importance of the Sagehens’ second team in their game plan.
“This game was really important because we’re playing the top of the table, Redlands,” Prosnitz said. “Being a substitute and coming in and changing the game is really something important on our team and one of our team values. To be able to execute that for my teammates was really special. Two goals was just amazing, and it’s been a while since I’ve scored in a game, so it was really fun. [It] feels good to be working hard in practice every week and then making it happen on the field.”
Wednesday’s victory was the Sagehens’ third in conference play (3-0-1) and sixth overall (6-1-1). P-P will host Cal Lutheran on Saturday in hopes of keeping their streak alive and taking outright first place in the SCIAC. Assistant Coach Isa Berardo believes they have the strategy to do so going forward.
“We’re gonna keep playing our game of soccer,” Berardo said. “Try and play possession, attack when we can attack, play smart, play quick and hopefully outrun teams for the full 90 minutes — not give up a single second where we give any teams a chance at a goal.”