Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer won an essential contest 1-0 against the University of Redlands Bulldogs earlier this week in their final home game of the season. The win moved the Sagehens into fourth place in the overall standings and made their record in SCIAC 6-6-1.
Before Wednesday’s home game, the Sagehens were in fifth place, just one game behind Redlands. They knew going into the game that they needed a win against the Bulldogs in order to leapfrog in the standings, and a tie would not be enough to avoid elimination from playoff contention. As a result, the ladies of P-P took to the field on Wednesday knowing that they were in complete control of their own destiny. And fortunately for Sagehen fans everywhere, they performed like champions.
The first half of the game could be best described as the “Allie Tao Show.” Forward Allie Tao PO ’14 put on a clinic for the fans as to how to make opposing defenders look silly. Tao ripped shot after shot from the top of 18, all of which were incredibly close to finding the back of the net. Such attempts included a shot that found its way through the opposing goalkeepers legs, but not across the goal line. However, despite the efforts of Tao and the other members of the Sagehen offense, the game remained scoreless going into halftime.
The second half was a much closer contest in which Redlands began to settle down and really give the Sagehens some trouble in the back. Fortunately, there was nothing the Bulldogs threw at the Hens that the veteran defense of Rachel Keyser PO ’15, Anika Burrel PO ’13, Jordan Bryant PO ’13, Claire Mueller PO ’13 and Arianna Sanchez PO ’14 couldn’t handle.
Although momentum shifted back and forth throughout the half, P-P finally took control of the scoreboard when Natalie Barberisi PO ’16 scored her first collegiate goal on a scramble in front of the net to put the Hens ahead 1-0 with seven minutes remaining.
While the whole team celebrated the victory with cheers and smiles, no one looked happier than the team’s two senior captains Mueller and Bryant.
“For a second there I thought it was going to be a sad last home game, but it ended up being the best way to finish my career as a Sagehen,” Bryant said.
Similarly Mueller made the confession that, “[This game was] really bittersweet. I’m glad we won but it is hard to think that this is really the end.”
For the seniors, Wednesday marked a bittersweet milestone in their collegiate soccer careers as these Sagehens played their final contest at home. The captains were joined by two other senior teammates, Burrell and Claudia Zaugg PO ’13, in expressing this dual emotion.
All four of these individuals have had a profound and important impact on the P-P women’s soccer program as it exists today. They have showed incredible resolve and dedication to have made it to this point and deserve recognition for all the hours they have graciously donated to the athletic program in their four years here. These lovely ladies have served as inspirations to younger players and as great leaders both on and off the field.
Officially, the soccer careers of the fearsome foursome of Zaugg, Burrell, Mueller and Bryant were celebrated earlier in the week during the designated Senior Day festivities before the team took on Occidental College on Saturday morning. Their friends and family joined them in a touching pregame tribute to their contributions as Sagehens. It was a charming spectacle that was followed by a terrific battle on the field.
The game itself proved to be a close contest and, although the Sagehens had a couple of good chances early in the game from Amanda Coba PO ’15 and Sam Thompson PZ ’15, they were thwarted by the Oxy defense.
The most exciting moment of the game came with twenty minutes left in regulation when Tao’s goal was called back after the referee determined that she had been offside on the play. The result of the no-goal call was a tie at the end of regulation and overtime.
Midway through the first overtime, Tao struck again and almost played the role of golden goal hero, but she had to watch the shot go just wide of the goal from 12 yards out. The game eventually ended in a 0-0 tie.
The Lady Sagehens will conclude their regular season on Saturday evening at University of La Verne. The game is a must-win contest for the ladies of PPWS, and if they pull it off, it will earn them an opportunity to play in the SCAIC tournament.