After earning its first trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament last season, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s lacrosse team (1-0 SCIAC) started out its 2015 campaign in dominant fashion with a 17-4 rout of Whittier College at Pomona’s South Athletic Complex Feb. 18.
“It was really awesome to start off our season with such a strong win,” said midfielder and team captain Alexa Sarussi PO ‘15. “After a month of practices and two scrimmages, I think we were all really excited to be playing as a team and to have some familiar competition.”
Coming off a record-breaking 16-win season, the Hens enter the season with many experienced returners.
Offensively, P-P has its 2014 second- and fourth-leading scorers, attackers Sarah Markowitz PZ ’16 and Aubrey Douglass PZ ’16, returning. Markowitz scored three goals in the opener and Douglass added two.
However, it was the underclassmen that stood out in the Sagehens’ first game. Midfielders Hannah Christenson PO ’17 and Sallie Marx PO ’18 each scored three goals in the second half and scored four total in the match. Sophomore attacker and 2014 fifth-leading scorer, attacker Rebecca Long PO ’17, also added a goal for the Hens.
The Sagehen defense was stout as well, allowing the Poets to try only nine shots in the 60-minute game compared to the Hens’ 43.
The 2014 SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year, midfielder Ally McLaughlin PO ’16, looked in great form with seven ground balls and six turnovers caused.
McLaughlin is joined on the defensive side with returning four-year starters, defenders Zoe Brown PZ ’15 and Brenna Gormally PO ’15, a 2014 IWLCA All-West region selection. Defender Makayla DeJong PO ’16 returns as a 2014 second-team All-SCIAC selection, despite missing nine games.
Overall, the Hens were content with their defensive performance.
“We played solid defense yesterday, both [on] the defensive end and in transition,” midfielder Katie Savino PO ‘16 said. “We also did a really great job in looking for our teammates for the assist on attack.”
Despite playing well on both sides of the ball, the players understand there is always room to improve.
“Going forward, I think we’re hoping to continue improving our shot placement, as well as becoming more of a unit on defense,” Sarussi said.
Finally, SCIAC Newcomer of the Year and IWLCA All-West Region first-team goalkeeper Gaby Fukumura PO ’17 returns after leading the SCIAC with a 7.92 goals against average. Fukumura looked ready for the new season, allowing only two goals in each half and earning three saves.
The Sagehens look to continue their strong start to the season at Occidental College Feb. 21 and have high hopes for the rest of their season.
“We feel like we are a very cohesive team this year and play really well together, so we’re hoping to keep that up all season and hopefully get our second NCAA bid,” Savino said.