Pomona-Pitzer continued their winning ways by routing Occidental College 3-0 away from home, thanks to a virtuoso performance by Allie Tao PO ’14. Tao assisted the first goal before scoring the second as the first half came to a close. A second-half own-goal by Occidental all but sealed the victory for the visitors. With the win, P-P improved to 9-2-1 overall on the year and 7-2 in SCIAC, keeping pace with first-place California Lutheran University, which is one win ahead. Occidental fell to 3-7-2 overall and 2-6-1 in conference play.
Having failed to score against Occidental at home just weeks ago, the onus was on P-P to put things right. However, their luck took a turn for the worse even before the game started, as top scorer Nicole Quilliam PO ’15 missed the game with a foot injury. However, the Sagehens did not panic, as Tao was the scourge of Occidental yet again. Returning to Jack Kemp Stadium, where she has scored six and assisted three goals in the past three visits, Tao had no plans of allowing the home side to dent P-P’s SCIAC chances.
The visitors continued with their fluid offensive play and metronomic passing in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. Tricky winger Agueda Dudley-Berrios PO ’17 tested the Tigers’ goalkeeper Taylor Renshaw twice in the opening five minutes. However, unlike the reverse fixture, Occidental did not adopt a complete defensive strategy and were rewarded for their adventure and pressing with a fair amount of possession. Elissa Minamishin, the game winner of the earlier fixture, forced Corey Goelz PO’ 17 into a smart save, conceding a corner in the 15th minute. She shot wide of the goal in the 20th minute before the visitors quickly broke the deadlock. In the 21st minute, Tao received possession of the ball and played a smart pass to in-form forward Danika Bethune PO ’17 in the middle of the box. Bethune found herself with plenty of room and calmly curled the ball past the goalkeeper to give the visitors the lead.
The breakthrough gave the match an end-to-end element, with Occidental quickly going on the offensive in search of the equalizer. Both Tao and Bethune shot wide of goal on opportunities in the 26th and 27th minute, respectively. The home side, on the other hand, nearly got the equalizer in the 35th minute: Tiger forward Julie Khil was played through on goal for a one-on-one situation when she hit the post and then contrived to put the rebound over the crossbar.
This would prove to be a missed golden opportunity for the home side as, only five minutes later, Tao got the all-important second goal. Good work on the right allowed defensive midfielder Charlotte Fisken PO ’14 to send a good cross into the box. Tao got to the end of the ball and headed it into the bottom left corner to add to Pomona-Pitzer’s lead with the first half nearly over.
The second half got off to an uneventful start, with both teams trying to get the upper hand. Occidental had two successive corner kicks in the 55th minute but failed to make use of them. However, Occidental was not out of danger: The Occidental defense inadvertently turned a 67th minute corner by Agueda Dudley-Berrios PO ’17 into their own net to seal the victory for P-P. The Sagehens nearly got another goal in the 72nd minute when returning defender Haley Barrows PO ’15, who missed the previous season with an injury, struck the crossbar.
Thereafter the visitors took their foot off the gas, allowing the Tigers to dominate the proceedings, and they came close on a number of occasions. McCaully Patch came closest to getting a consolation in the 87th minute with a powerful free kick that thundered off the crossbar, and the Sagehens were able to return home with a clean sheet.
Earlier in the week, there was great intrigue on how P-P would react to their heartbreaking overtime defeat to Cal Lutheran when they traveled to University of La Verne. The Sagehens answered their critics in resounding fashion with Tao grabbing a brace of goals, which included an exquisite free-kick, and Dudley-Berrios and Amanda Coba PO ’15 scoring powerful individual efforts to allow the visitors to run out with a 4-1 win.
Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for an 11 a.m. contest.