Women’s Lacrosse Falls Shorthanded

Playing with no substitutes in either of this week’s games after a string of concussions, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s lacrosse team fell to Occidental College 7-6 and Adrian College 13-11 in consecutive arduous, low-scoring contests. While the Sagehens have only prevailed in one of their five games this season, they can take pride in their strongest defensive performances of 2012, the short-handed side allowing in a mere 20 combined goals in the two tilts.

Goalie Casey Leek PZ ’14 starred for P-P, claiming 32 saves over the course of the two games. To make up for her smaller frame—the returning first-team All-SCIAC selection stands five feet two inches—Leek would aggressively step out of her crease and toward opponents to cut off their angles, in the process stopping a host of breakaways and free position shots. After conceding at least 18 goals in each of their opening three contests, the Sagehen defense limited the Occidental and Adrian attackers, channeling them to the periphery and rarely permitting open opportunities in front of Leek’s cage.

The P-P offense, unfortunately, was similarly stymied. Martha Marich PO ’12, the reigning female SCIAC athlete of the week, managed four goals in the two contests while Logan Galansky PO ’14 scored one fewer. Jana London PZ ’14, who went goalless in the Occidental defeat, rebounded strongly against Adrian, carrying the scoring load for the Sagehens and rifling in five goals. Julie Necarsulmer PO ’15 also shone in the loss to Adrian, netting a hat-trick and providing her strongest showing for P-P.

Necarsulmer was humble about her play.

“I sort of got lucky a couple times,” she said. “Two of my goals were free positions so that was a good way to score.”

The first 14 minutes of the Occidental game was indicative of the Sagehens’ week as the Tigers were unable to find an opener until Haley Gandsey beat Leek on a free position shot. The teams traded goals before Necarsulmer scored with seven seconds left on the clock, evening the contest at three all. The Tigers, though, came out dominant after the break. A trio of quick strikes finished within two and a half minutes of the second half’s start gave Occidental the largest lead of the afternoon. P-P clawed back, however, allowing only one more goal in the remaining 27 minutes. Despite the defense’s recovery, the Sagehen attack could not find an equalizer upon pulling within one goal of Occidental. P-P was then forced to furiously chase the Tigers, who passed around the ball in order to keep possession rather than trying to increase their advantage, until the game reached its conclusion.

While the result ultimately was the same as on Saturday, Tuesday’s meeting with Adrian began with a much quicker pace. Marich scored less than three minutes in before the visitors from Michigan responded with three goals of their own. P-P then reclaimed the lead with about ten minutes left in the half with a goal from Galansky and two from London. Adrian leveled the score at four, but London answered to put P-P up again. The Bulldogs, however, retook control of the duel, firing two shots past Leek, including one with only two ticks left on Merritt Field’s faulty scoreboard.

Adrian extended its advantage when Hannah Early scored on a free position shot a minute after the restart. Three pairs of goals—two from the Sagehens and one from the Bulldogs—left the score tied with ten minutes to play. Rachel Johnston deposited one in Leek’s cage before London assisted on a Marich equalizer and then danced through the Adrian defense to score one of the nicest goals of the year and give the Sagehens the lead with two minutes and 26 seconds remaining in regulation. Leek stoned an Adrian attacker with a quality save, but ran behind her cage to evade pressure while trying to find an outlet for her clearance. The ball was checked out of Leek’s stick and the goalie was whistled for a foul in the ensuing scrum. Leek had to line up behind the Adrian attacker who found a teammate easily able to finish off her chance and force overtime.

The Bulldogs dominated the extra six minutes, scoring twice and then, like Occidental, tossing the ball around until the horn sounded to end the exciting matchup.

“Our defense was really solid and so was our offense. We can beat them if we play them again,” Necarsulmer said of the Adrian defeat.

With the two losses, P-P is now 1-4 overall and 1-3 against SCIAC opponents. The Sagehens now have nearly a week to recuperate as they will not take the field until hosting Fort Lewis Monday night.

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