Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer suffered a difficult 1-0 defeat on Wednesday against the Chapman University Panthers, bringing their overall record in SCIAC to 4-5-1. Despite the defeat, the Sagehens remain in fifth place overall in the standings and in a very good position to make a late push toward a playoff spot.
The game itself was dominated from start to finish by the Sagehens, especially in the first half, during which they had almost all the opportunities on goal and the majority of the possession. However, despite stellar individual efforts from Nicole Quilliam PO ’15 and Rachel Keyser PO ’15, among others, the Sagehens were unable to finish any opportunities into the back of the net.
The game remained tied 0-0 until 10 minutes into the second half when Chapman finished their first good chance of the day, making the score 0-1 in favor of the Panthers. Although the Sagehens battled valiantly to try to tie it up, the Panthers’ lead proved to be insurmountable.
After the game the Sagehens were disappointed, but not discouraged.
“We played intensely for 90 minutes, and the desire was there. It just didn’t go our way today,” said Claudia Zaugg PO ‘13.
As Zaugg suggests, it is the nature of the game that it is possible for any team to win on any given day. This is a reality that can be difficult for a talented group of players like the Sagehens to accept, yet it is an important lesson for them to learn as they head toward potentially single-elimination play in the SCIAC tournament.
Earlier in the week, women’s soccer kicked off the second round of SCIAC play with a win against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The first meeting of the two squads had gone into overtime and resulted in a devastating 1-0 loss for the Sagehens. However, the Hens were determined to make sure history did not repeat itself.
The Sagehen defense, led by goalkeeper Helena Epps PO ’16, was tested early but proved able to fend off the dangerous Athena attack. Things started looking up for the Sagehens when team-leading goal scorer Allie Tao PO ’14 blasted a 25-yard shot past the CMS goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead.
The game remained incredibly close, and it looked as if the Sagehens were going to be successful in preserving their one-goal lead until, with only a few minutes remaining in the second half, CMS got the equalizing goal. The 1-1 score at the end of regulation meant overtime—a fate all too familiar for these two teams.
Overtime began and the Sagehens dominated play, so much so that it almost seemed as if CMS had few players on the pitch. Then, in a moment of pure brilliance, Tao struck again. She tapped in the rebound off a shot from Dana Christensen PZ ’15 into the back of the net to score the golden goal game-winner. The P-P fans in the stadium erupted in celebration.
When asked after the game how it felt to be the goal-scoring hero in a rivalry game, Tao responded graciously.
“To me, the first goal I scored was a result of how strong we came out in the first half. We had been struggling to come out hard right away in home games, and it felt great to dominate play immediately and score a goal. The second goal was such a relief. I was angry that they had scored on us in the last few minutes and thought that as a team we earned that goal by responding with high pressure and hard work,” Tao said.
While the team worked together to earn the result, Tao is certainly earning her place in P-P soccer history.
The Sagehens’ next game is this Saturday against league leading California Lutheran in what will prove to be the SCIAC matchup of the week.