You may have seen her running sprints on the football field in the pouring rain. You may have seen her breaking Rains’ rules to play wallball in the racquetball courts. If you were at the lacrosse game this Saturday, you might have seen her make a CMS player cry. And, if you have somehow ended up on her bad side, you may have even been on the receiving end of one of her famous death stares.
Sounds scary, and this intensity and determination is part of what made Martha Marich PO ’12 the highest freshman scorer in all of Division-III last year and the only Pomona-Pitzer women’s lacrosse player to make First Team, All-Western Region.
For those of you who don’t know, Martha is my best friend (together we’re Bartha) and if I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be “aggressive”. Although the fact that her favorite singer is Miley Cyrus and that she laughs at just about everything may not sound too intimidating, if you ever come to a lacrosse game, you’ll see what I’m talking about. You can quickly pick out Martha as the girl with the braid who always seems to have three or four girls guarding her, but somehow manages to break through all of them to score.
In lacrosse, players get yellow cards and have to sit out for three minutes for committing particularly egregious fouls, such as checks to the head. These fouls are supposed to be rare occurrences. Martha estimated that she racked up about 11 to 13 yellow cards last year, and when she saw that she was booked for 55 fouls, we both laughed at the extreme underestimate.
When asked where all this aggression came from, she responded, “I don’t understand why other people aren’t as aggressive as me…I just go get the frickin’ ball anyway I can.”
This mindset has apparently served her well, as she had 100 ground ball pickups last year, the third most in all of D-III.
Martha also attributes her feistiness to her small stature and the high level of competitiveness in her hometown of McLean, Virginia, right outside Washington D.C. Although she is 5’7” now, she didn’t break five feet until high school and had to learn to be tough in order to compete with the bigger girls in soccer and lacrosse.
The funny thing is, although she is a lacrosse star in college, it was just on a whim that she decided to play lacrosse in high school. Soccer was her main sport: she has been playing since she was four and starts at center-back here the Sagehen soccer team. During her freshman year of high school, the JV lacrosse coach asked if she played a spring sport and suggested she try out for the lacrosse team. She made the varsity team her sophomore year, but chose to play on JV because she wanted lacrosse to be her fun sport after a stressful soccer season.
Although she is best known here for scoring a ridiculously high number of goals (91) last year, she played defense in high school and scored only five goals her entire senior season. After being accepted to Pomona College, she wasn’t even sure that she would play lacrosse here.
Luckily for us, she did decide to play and ended up being one of the most standout freshmen in the division.
This season, after watching Pomona-Pitzer’s first league game against CMS, it looks as if Martha’s performance may have improved even more for the better.
Marich scored seven of the team’s 10 goals in its 20-10 loss against CMS. Hannah T’Kindt PO ’11 put in one and Emma Molloy PI ’13 had the other two. CMS’s triple- and quadruple-teaming was no match for Marich: she just weaved right through them and was able to get off shot after shot.
She also seems to have toned down her aggression in areas where it might hurt the team. She received zero yellow cards and only four fouls in the game. (Trust me, as one of her teammates last year, a number of fouls this low was almost unheard of for Martha). This can be attributed in part to new coach Katie Shannon yelling at her every time she makes wild one-handed checks or ground-ball pickups.
Although it wasn’t a win, the team put up a good fight against CMS, especially since the same 12 Sagehens played the entire game with no relief, while CMS had about 10 subs. With Martha on their side and as injuries heal and new players become more experienced, the Sagehens are looking forward to a more even match-up in their next go around with their Sixth Street rivals.