Athenas Take Down Sagehens with Onslaught of Goals

The Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer team saw their undefeated conference record come to an
end as Claremont-Mudd-Scripps moved up on the SCIAC standings after a 3-0 win over the Sagehens in the Sixth Street rivalry match Oct. 8. 

P-P (7-3-1, 5-1-1 SCIAC) entered the encounter on a
two-game winning run after a Katie Tao PO ’17 goal took the Sagehens to a 1-0
result over Whittier College Oct. 4. The Athenas also entered the derby on the
back of a positive result, downing Chapman on the weekend after a bitter double overtime loss to Redlands. That lone defeat meant that CMS
entered the game as the second place team in the SCIAC, one spot below the
Sagehens, but it was the Athenas playing on their home field who started full
of confidence.

Knowing CMS would come out strong, P-P planned to control the game from the very start.

“Going into the game we
always try to start off dictating the tempo and commanding the field,” Nicole Qulliam PO ’15, a captain of the P-P team, said. 

However, ridden by injuries, the Sagehens had difficulty achieving their initial game plan.

“Having a lot of injuries makes it hard to stick to our game plan, which is centered around possession soccer,” Quilliam said. “This is hard when you don’t have a full squad because people end up playing out of position, and that is when tactics start to break down.”

After an aggressive opening few minutes, the hosts notched the
first goal of the game in the 17th minute. Midfielder Elizabeth
Augustine CM ’15 hit a long ball into the path of Makella Brems CM ’17, putting
the latter one-on-one with P-P goalkeeper Annie Wedel PO ’16. Brems
kept her composure to slot the ball past Wedel, taking the midfielder’s tally
for the season to a team-high seven goals.

Brems continued to be a thorn in
the Sagehens’ side, firing a speculative effort at a goal just seconds after her
opener that was blocked by the P-P defense. The visitors, however, were
struggling to stay on top of CMS’ attacking momentum, and Brems was once again
at the heart of a good piece of play as the hosts doubled their lead in the 24th
minute. A clever pass found the feet of
forward Sydney Smith CM ’18, who hit a powerful low shot past a helpless
Wedel. The goal was the fourth of the season for the first-year attacker, taking her to second on the scoring charts behind Brems. 

CMS’ two-goal cushion seemed
to put them in a commanding position to ride out the victory, but the Athenas
were not content to simply sit back and continued to be the more forceful team
in the first half. Brems tested Wedel once more in the 27th minute as the P-P keeper also clawed away headers by Augustine and Samantha Kunz CM ’15 in the 29th and 37th minutes, respectively. CMS goalkeeper Molly Freed SC ’15, by contrast, had a calm first half. While she could only
watch as a 33rd-minute free kick from Tao ricocheted off the
crossbar, she showed good awareness to stifle P-P’s only other genuine attempt
of the half, repelling a 45th minute attempt by Nadia Alaiyan PO

The Sagehens’ inability to peg back
the Athenas before halftime would prove costly just 36 seconds after the second
half kick-off. Smith found herself some room on the wing and put in a good
cross for midfielder Darrah Shields CM ’16, who slotted home from close range to stretch
the lead to 3-0 and all but secure the result for the Athenas. 

the game’s tempo began to die down after that, with CMS happy to control the
ball and restrain their attacking instincts, and P-P seemingly resigned to
taking its first SCIAC loss of the season. The best goal-scoring opportunity for the
rest of the game did fall to a Sagehen, but Nicole Quilliam PO ’15—arguably
P-P’s best performer for the day—couldn’t beat Freed with her effort.

Indeed, CMS was comfortable enough to pull Freed with 36 minutes to
go, handing some minutes to goalkeeper Morgan McCoy CM ’18, who was a spectator
for the last half hour or so as the game petered to its conclusion. As the
final whistle blew, CMS moved to the top of the SCIAC standings, two points
above P-P, with both teams having played exactly half of their regular season
conference opponents. 

Even after the tough loss, the Sagehens are looking forward to facing the Athenas again.

“The good news is we get to play each team
again, which means we will face CMS at least one more time,” Quilliam said. “This
gives us a golden opportunity to step back and figure out what we can improve
upon for the games to come.” 

Although there is plenty of soccer left to be played,
the good form of both P-P and CMS this season suggests that the rivals could
push each other for conference honors all the way to the end. The Athenas will
now gear up for a tricky visit Oct. 11 to California Lutheran University, the third-place team in SCIAC. 

The Sagehens will host the University of La Verne the same day after a non-conference
match against University of California, Santa Cruz, Oct. 10.

P-P looks to get back on track and put the loss to CMS behind them.

“The loss is behind us, and we are definitely
expecting to pick up where we left off before that: by winning and playing
with heart,” Quilliam said.    

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