Sagehens Remain in Playoff Hunt

Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer team remained third in SCIAC standings, after
taking just one point from two difficult home games against Occidental College and the University of La Verne this past week. A spate of injuries has halted P-P’s (7-5-4, 5-2-4 SCIAC) momentum after an excellent start to the season, but P-P managed to come out strong against the Tigers, something the team wanted to focus on in its game plan.

“Prior to the Oxy game, we had experienced several losses and ties, so our game plan was to go out hard for the first 15 minutes to set the tone of the game and to ultimately get the win,” Jamie Kerester PO ’17 said.

Nicole Quilliam PO
’15 had two shots on goal saved by Oxy goalkeeper Dallas Gunny within the first
twelve minutes, and Sofia Barsher PZ ’18 added another on-target attempt. The early P-P pressure didn’t translate into a goal, however, and the
visitors began to work their way back into the game. In the 17th minute, goalkeeper Annie Wedel PO ’16 smothered an attempt by Oxy’s Michaela Tsuha, but the rebound fell kindly back to Tsuha, who slotted a goal home. 

opened the scoring, the Tigers looked to increase
their lead as Wedel had to make two more close saves in the minutes following Tsuha’s
goal. However, the Hens started to regain their composure as the half wore on. Gunny had to repel attempts from Sara Ach PZ ’15 in the 27th minute and
Natalie Barbaresi PO ’16 in the 45th to keep Oxy ahead. But P-P still entered
halftime trailing, and the break seemed to give Oxy the chance to catch
its breath. 

Early in
the second half Oxy had two good chances, but Wedel was as alert as ever. Although Quilliam did find
herself some space to test Gunny in the 49th, it was the visitors
who had the more dangerous chances, and in the 69th, the Tigers capitalized on a sloppy P-P clearance at the top of the 18-yard area and smashed a powerful shot in the top corner. 

In response, P-P answered in the 85th minute. Kerester sent a teasing cross into the box, and Nadia Alaiyan PO ’17 touched the ball into the path of Mary Stafford PZ ’16, who steered it into the
goal. The Sagehens sensed an opportunity to get themselves in the game and
were handed a prime opportunity in the dying minutes. A mistimed tackle in the
Oxy box in the 89th minute drew P-P a penalty shot, but Nicola Ying Fry
PZ ’16 hooked her attempt
wide left, and the final whistle blew seconds later to confirm victory for Occidental.

Despite losing, the Hens were able to take away constructive information from the game.

“Something we have been struggling with is communication on the field and finding how to motivate each other during the game after little mistakes or periods of sloppiness,” Kerester said. “Our coaches made it clear that we really have to increase the focus during practices in order to stay sharp during games, and as a team we agreed to commit to doing this.”

had to regroup quickly from the disappointing loss for the Wednesday visit of
California Lutheran University.
Although the Sagehens once again had a positive start, it was the Regals who got
the vital early goal. Chances stayed at a premium for the rest
of the half, with neither goalkeeper having much to do as both teams could only
fashion half-opportunities at goals. 

The second half, however, began with a
spurt of P-P pressure. The Hens’ offensive pressure finally paid off in the 82nd as an astray Regals’ clearance found the foot of Gold, who struck a first-time shot into the side of the net. As the game headed into overtime, P-P had the better
opportunities to win the game, most notably in the second period, when Bailey
saved an attempt by Amanda Coba PO ‘15 off the frame of the Cal Lutheran goal. It was
once again a case of inopportune luck for the Sagehens, who had to settle for
the 1-1 draw.

P-P remains in the SCIAC playoff race, but it is aware
that it needs a win sooner rather than later as the team prepares for a
visit to conference strugglers Chapman University on Saturday, Oct. 25.

“Going into the Chapman game, our mentality is that we have to win,” Kerester said. “Each game is a battle that we cannot afford to lose, but we are ready to face our opponents and grind our way to the postseason.”

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