Sagehens Locked into Playoff Matchup with Whittier

In the first meeting between the Pomona-Pitzer women’s lacrosse team and the Whittier Poets, the Sagehens were unstoppable, racking up 26 goals on 44 shots. Two months later, however, Whittier flipped the tables on P-P, stymieing their opponents’ previously potent attack in a 15-10 upset of the Sagehens last Saturday. 

Despite the Sagehens’ success in February, Martha Marich PO’12 was wary of the improving Poets.

“I think it’s going to be a hard game,” she said of the matchup against Whittier. “We beat them last time, but it definitely wasn’t an easy win. And teams have changed a lot since February.”

Marich’s assessment of P-P’s opponent was spot-on as the surefire all-SCIAC selection registered only three goals in the defeat. Compare this output with Marich’s astronomical tally (11 goals) from the conference rivals’ previous encounter, and one realizes the extent of the purple-and-gold’s progress.

Julie Necarsulmer PO ’15 opened the scoring on the afternoon, her only goal of the game coming exactly six minutes in. Shaina Denny soon after converted a pair of free position shots to give the Poets their first lead of the contest. Logan Galansky PO ’14 equalized for the Sagehens at 19:31, however, P-P was then held scoreless for the rest of the half. In this span, Whittier deposited six shots into the back of Pomona sophomore Casey Leek’s net, and the Poets finished the first stanza with an 8-2 advantage. 

Whittier widened P-P’s deficit at the start of the second half through a Dana Barraco goal before the Sagehens commenced a run of their own. Jana London PZ ’14 scored twice, Galansky followed with another two goals and then Marich finally found the back of the net. The Poets’ advantage had diminished to only two goals, and the Sagehens appeared capable of an unlikely comeback, but Whittier swiftly halted P-P’s momentum. A three-goal run by the hosts made the game’s result inevitabile. Another Whittier outburst matched a Marich brace, the tilt ending 15-10 in favor of the Poets.

Following the defeat, Galansky could not pinpoint a reason for the loss, chalking up the poor performance to the Sagehens having one of those games when things simply do not work out.

“We’ve made huge improvements and really came together as a team since our first round of SCIAC games, but all the other teams have gotten better as well,” Galansky said. “Unfortunately, I think we just had an off day against Whittier. We put forth a strong effort in the second half, but we just couldn’t quite get everything to click across the field.”

Whittier’s win leaves the teams tied for fourth in SCIAC, both having recorded one SCIAC victory this season. Galansky explained the playoff ramifications of the loss.

“I think it means that we’ll have to play Whittier again for the play-in game to get into the tournament, and hopefully we’ll be the higher seed so the game can be at home,” Galansky said. “If that is the case, I think that our team has learned from our last game and that we can absolutely beat Whittier.”

Before the postseason begins, the Sagehens will travel to Pasadena and battle second-place Occidental. P-P, like Whittier a week before, will look to avenge an earlier defeat as the Sagehens fell to the Tigers 7-6 back in February.

Galansky is confident that P-P will be able to double its SCIAC win total and enter the playoffs on a positive note.

“I think the game against Oxy is going to be intense, fast-paced and physical,” Galansky said. “It will be a tough game, but I have full confidence that our team can come out with a win.”

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