Don’t Cross With CMS Lacrosse: Athenas Pick Up Two Wins Over Break

Defender Alex Savino CM ’16 cradles the ball and
charges down the field, leaving her opponents in the dust. She arrives at
the opposing goal and passes the ball to her waiting teammates, who set the offense into high gear. 

Across the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lacrosse team’s (7-2,
4-1) four games over spring break, Savino’s relentless hustle and lockdown
defense—coupled with the team’s all-around fitness—proved to be key for the Athenas. Such high levels of conditioning can be largely attributed to new head coach Lauren
Uhr, who has made basics like fitness and teamwork a priority.

“We have
double the practice time that we’re used to, but it’s paying off because we’re
in such good shape,” defender Molly O’Donnell CM ’16 said. “Coach has a very
positive outlook on things. I think a
lot of players on our team are motivated by positivity, so it’s been awesome to have
someone who voices that she believes in us and has an incredible foundation in
lacrosse. When she holds a stick you
know that what she’s saying is actually right.”

The
Athenas’ work ethic paid off in their first two games, both of which resulted
in victories. First, CMS engaged in a back-and-forth duel with the State University
of New York at New Paltz (1-3) March 15.

“We were
excited to get a different style of competition because east coast play is very
different than west coast play; it’s more competitive and fast-paced than we’re
used to,” O’Donnell said. “I think we were pumped up for the game, and we
adjusted to their style of play a lot better than we expected.”

The Athenas
headed into halftime with a narrow 8-6 victory, but SUNY New Paltz came
out strongly to start the second half with a 4-0 run. The Athenas fought back with four goals of their own and regulation ended with the two teams locked
together 14-14.  That’s when CMS found an
extra gear and surged to victory after two goals from attacker Christina
Coffin CM ’16 and one from midfielder Lauren Clubb CM ’18 to seal the 17-14
victory.

“What I
think went really well was that our attack was really playing like a team,”
Savino explained. “We had more assists, and we weren’t looking for the one v. one drives that we tend to resort back to when we’re losing. We also have a
really deep team compared to other teams, so we can sub out more, which is really
important.”

CMS played
even better in their next game against Kean University March 16. The Athenas absolutely
demolished the Cougars in the first half, outscoring them 13-2.  Clubb led the way with three goals for CMS, and O’Donnell chipped in two more with back-to-back shots, both off Coffin
assists. CMS kept possession of the lead throughout the game for an eventual
17-12 victory.

“I think
that was the best we ever played,” O’Donnell said. “The thing we stressed
the most that game was team attack. So
opposed to one person driving, it was everyone helping each other out and
setting picks for everyone else. We’re
using the middle of the field more and taking advantage of the fact that if
someone is open in the middle, we can pass it to them instead of taking the ball
yourself. So it was an all-around team effort.”

The two
subsequent contests proved to be much stiffer challenges as CMS lost to
Plymouth State University (4-3) 10-7 March 18 and then suffered a narrow
overtime defeat to the University of Redlands (6-3, 3-2) 15-13 March 21.

“We just
could not keep possession of the ball and couldn’t get it up on transition as
much as we could have,” O’Donnell explained. “They were definitely more
physical, and when things started going wrong we started to wonder why they
weren’t going right and getting frustrated.”

The Athenas next take the field to start off the second half of SCIAC
play with a game against Occidental College (6-4, 2-3 SCIAC) April 2. 

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