Late Surge Can’t See Sagehens Past Fort Lewis

The last three Pomona-Pitzer women’s lacrosse games, including the March 5 loss to Fort Lewis College, have all followed the same formula. The Sagehens initially fall behind their opponents, who establish an early, multi-goal lead. They then whittle away at the deficit as the end of the first half nears and finally surmount an exciting yet ultimately fruitless comeback in the contest’s final minutes. The total difference between P-P and their three foes during this stretch? A meager four goals.

The Sagehens came into their matchup with the Skyhawks well rested, their last game having been against Adrian College six days prior. While not fully healed, P-P at least had one substitute for the tilt, which came in handy when Logan Galansky PO ’14 needed time to recuperate from an injured shoulder.

Fort Lewis soared to a three-goal lead five minutes into the game—its first of the season—at Merritt Field. Jessica Norby scored before Ally Kvidera finished two free position shots to give the Coloradoans an immediate advantage over their hosts. Goals from Claire Bartlett PZ ’15 and Martha Marich PO ’12 followed, but the Skyhawks answered with a pair of their own. A series of similar spurts ensued until the conclusion of the first half when Fort Lewis exited up 11-7. Kvidera and her twin sister Abby, who combined for seven goals, engineered the Skyhawks’ lead while Marich matched the duo with her own first-half hat trick.

The Sagehens began the second half unusually strong; rather than conceding goals, P-P took the game to its opponents. Clara Engle PO ’15 and Jana London PZ ’14 both scored within two minutes after the start of intermission, slicing Fort Lewis’ lead in half. A Norby goal brought the Skyhawk advantage back to three, but Kaitlin Jones PZ ’14 rifled a free position shot by Fort Lewis goalie Genna Waugh to keep the proceedings tight.

Amanda Cawker extended the Skyhawk lead to three with 19:18 left to play with what would be the final Fort Lewis goal of the contest. From that point forward, the Sagehen defense smothered their adversaries, allowing the P-P attack to concentrate on gaining its first lead of the evening. The Skyhawks, though, played similarly stingy with Marich being the only Sagehen capable of scoring as the second half progressed. The senior attacker scored a free position shot, collected the ball on the ensuing draw, marched through the midfield and whipped an effort passed Waugh.

“I definitely feel like I was finally back to being myself on the field against Fort Lewis,” said Marich about her performance. “The three games before that were difficult for me personally. Between being face-guarded and being really sick, I wasn’t playing as well as I would have liked. So I was really happy with how I played on Monday.”

Marich’s goal, however, was the last P-P could muster as the final few minutes of the game were plagued by Sagehen yellow cards, penalties that forced Marich and Zoe Brown PZ ’15 to take turns watching their shorthanded team attempting to find an equalizer from the sidelines. 

Despite the defeat, Marich is still optimistic about the season, and she outlined what the Sagehens need to do transform these losses into victories in the future.

“I think that our team needs to improve on the little things in order to win the close games—a one goal difference really just comes down to one or two silly mistakes,” Marich said. “I think specifically that having fewer turnovers, winning more 50/50 balls and running our offense better under pressure are key if we want to come out on top in the future.”

Galansky echoed Marich’s words.

“I think it’s just a matter of taking care of the little things, like ground balls, and continuing to build our confidence,” Galansky said. “We have a very skilled defense and offense, strong team unity on and off the field, a great work ethic and a ton of heart. With every game and practice we’re improving and getting to know each other’s playing styles better, and I’m extremely optimistic for the rest of the season.”

P-P will attempt to right its season and translate these words into tangible results next Wednesday when the University of Puget Sound arrives in Claremont.

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