The Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer team bounced back in resounding fashion after a disappointing loss against Occidental College last Saturday by earning a thrilling victory against rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in overtime this past Wednesday. Danika Bethune PO ’17 scored the winner in the second minute of overtime after a cleverly timed run behind the CMS defense. With the last gasp victory, the Sagehens improved to 4-1-1 overall and 2-1 in SCIAC while CMS fell to 1-5-2 overall and 0-2-1 in the league.
Despite its loss to Occidental, P-P kept faith in their philosophy and came out onto the field looking to seize control of possession. The Athenas adopted a far more aggressive approach than Occidental or University of La Verne, but P-P successfully implemented its game plan. CMS saw little of the ball compared to the visitors; their best chances in the first half were a couple of dangerous through-balls, effectively smothered by P-P goalkeeper Annie Wedel PO ’16.
Despite failing to create many clear-cut chances, P-P took the lead in the 43rd minute courtesy of some brilliant work by fullback Jamie Kerester PO ’17. Kerester, whose effective offensive overlaps have been a consistent feature of P-P’s play this year, sent a high drifting cross into the box from the right side. Attacking midfielder Julia Dohner PO ’16 made an excellent late run into the box and nodded the ball just inside the post to give the visitors the lead on the stroke of half time.
The second half was a completely different story. CMS appeared the more motivated team, playing with gusto and dominating the second half of the derby. The Athenas saw more of the ball and posed a much greater threat to the P-P goal. One of their best chances came in the 69th minute when Elizabeth Augustine CM ’15 glided into the box before unleashing a powerful shot that was partially deflected by Wedel. Defender Taylor Fortson PO ’16 made an excellent goal line clearance as the ball was about to creep into the net.
The Athenas eventually did break through P-P’s solid back line in the 88th minute. With time almost up, the Hens conceded a free kick just outside the box. Lauren Phillips CM ’14 curled an out swinger towards the far post and some lackluster marking from P-P allowed Hannah Rosenberg CM ’17 to powerfully head in the equalizer.
P-P did not have to wait long to score the winner, however. In the second minute of overtime, good work in midfield led attacker Allie Tao PO ’14 to play a delightful through-ball to Bethune behind the CMS defense. Bethune kept her nerve and smartly placed the ball under the onrushing goalkeeper, giving P-P the victory and bragging rights against its rival CMS.
Earlier in the week, P-P experienced a frustrating defeat to Occidental. P-P picked up from where they left off against La Verne and took the game by the scruff of its neck. They neatly passed the ball all around the pitch, keeping possession while Occidental did its best to sit back and absorb the pressure. Despite their neat passing and domination, problems from the game against La Verne resurfaced, with the home side lacking a cutting edge in the final third. Their best chance fell to first-year defender Fortson, who headed the ball into the cross bar as Occidental managed to repel the relentless Sagehen pressure and get to half time without conceding a goal.
The ebb and flow of the game remained the same after the restart, but things took a turn for the worse for the home side in the 55th minute. Occidental’s Ellisa Minamishin played a neat one-two with Julie Khil and blasted the ball into the P-P goal from outside the box, giving the Tigers the lead against the run of play.
The concession reinvigorated the home side, forcing P-P into a more attacking style of play. Picking up from her great performance against La Verne, Nicole Quilliam PO ’15 was at the heart of every chance P-P created. Her skill, pace, and energy were the home side’s greatest asset in their quest for an equalizer. Unfortunately for P-P, they were against a goalkeeper who was determined to keep a clean sheet. Tayler Renshaw, Occidental’s goalkeeper, put on a spirited performance, first stopping Quilliam inside the box and then pulling off a great reaction save from a shot by Tao after she was played through with a stunning pass from Quilliam.
More of the same followed in the latter stages of the half as Amanda Coba PO ’15 shot just wide and Renshaw again stopped Quilliam before she could properly get her shot away. With the clock running down, the two bright sparks of the team, Quilliam and Tao, combined well once again with Quilliam playing a neat flick to Tao in the box. However, Renshaw was aware of the danger and quickly gathered the ball before Tao received it, capping off a brilliant performance as the final whistle blew.
Pomona-Pitzer will continue SCIAC play this Saturday when it hosts Chapman University at 4 p.m.