Judging on their season thus far, it seems like there’s nothing the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s lacrosse team (13-3, 8-2 SCIAC) can’t do. The Athenas came out on their home field ready to play Saturday, Apr. 23, defeating the Occidental College (8-10, 2-9 SCIAC) in 14-7 a solid victory. This win was particularly satisfying after CMS barely edged out Oxy 11-10 a few weeks earlier.
“When we played Occidental earlier in the season we didn’t play that well as a team, and only won by one goal,” says Corie Hack CM ’19. With this exciting triumph, the Athenas clinched the second seed spot in the SCIAC playoffs and earned themselves a bye in the first round, catapulting them straight into the semifinals with a home game at Zinda Field on Saturday, Apr. 30.
Even though Occidental scored first, Lauren Clubb CM ’18 fired right back to tie it up and instigate a five-goal streak for the Athenas. The players who scored in the first half of the game to put CMS in the lead 9-2 from the very beginning were Hack, Katie Hill CM ’18, Zoe Pinczower CM ’17, Ellen Berkley CM ’18, and Mikaela Connell CM ’18. Christina Coffin CM ’16 joined her teammates to make the score 14-7 in the final minutes. Fittingly, Clubb scored the last goal to put the cherry on top of a decidant sundae of a win to earn the Athenas to the number two playoff seed.
“We were in the running for a three-way tie between CMS, Chapman, and Pomona-Pitzer…so this game was super important for us in terms of seeding for the SCIAC tournament. What made it special relative to other games though was that the way our team played against Oxy went beyond the goal of winning,” says Pinczower. “Bouncing back from our recent, one-point game against them, our motivation was to keep possession of the ball, control the tempo of the game, and I think our team really accomplished this goal,” she said.
“For me, my family was at this game so that made it special to me. I know my teammates also had family there so that is always a motivating factor to play well,” adds Hack.
The Athenas scored 14 goals on 25 shots, making an amazing 56 percent average. More saves on goal (CMS had nine while Occidental had seven), and fewer turnovers (CMS had 22 versus Oxy’s 25), represented the Athena’s smart style of defense and play. These characteristics are key factors in CMS’ record.
The most important key to success according to Pinczower is the chemistry between the players on the team.
“We mesh better on and off the field more than I have experienced from the past two years…we’re unique in the sense that we run really deep. Every member of our team brings something special the moment they step onto the field,” says Pinczower.
The team consensus going into the playoffs is to approach each game with optimism and determination.
“We are focusing on things we need to adjust and work on from our previous conference games. My teammates and I all want to win so badly, so we are just working on ourselves and preparing for anything other teams might throw at us,” says Hack.
The Athenas plan on exhibiting new offensive and defensive sets to surprise the other teams; they’re determined to go all the way.