Both sides in this classic meeting of Sixth Street rivals were evenly matched late into the night. Even after 15 minutes of extra time, neither team could surmount the other. Finally, in the 108th minute, Abby Onderwyzer Gold PO ‘18 delivered a clean assist to Agueda Dudley-Berrios PO ’17, who nailed the golden goal right over the head of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps keeper Kelly McConnell CM ’17.
Going into the weekend, Pomona-Pitzer (8-1-2, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 7-0-2) and CMS (8-5-0, SCIAC 6-2-0) were neck-and-neck at the top of SCIAC rankings. However, the Sagehens took down the Athenas for the second time this season, solidifying their place at the top of the pecking order.
Games like this really check the endurance and cohesion of a team. Despite her own accomplishments on Saturday, Oct. 8, Dudley-Berrios is confident that this victory was definitely a team effort.
“I think that in double overtime, when it gets down to the wire like that against an opponent like CMS, there's really nothing one individual player can do on their own to win the game,” Dudley-Berrios said, when asked about what goes on in her head during an intense game. “You can bring extra energy and you can play consistently, but trying to do too much on one's own can lead to disconnectedness and frantic play.”
Even for a team full of great individual players like Pomona-Pitzer, the team needs to be greater than the sum of its parts. And as we saw on Saturday, teamwork was exactly what won the game.
“The ball that Abby played to me was so perfect, I didn't need to do any extra work to get into a good position to score, and because I didn't have to do that, I didn't have much time to think about the pressure,” Dudley-Berrios told TSL. “That goal was an example of our instincts kicking in, giving us the ability to execute in a tight situation.”
Despite this heartbreaking loss, the Athenas are still a mighty power in their own right. The intensity of the competition was not lost on the Sagehens, who only narrowly escaped a late-game surge by the Athenas in the 89th minute.
“It was a real battle against a very good soccer team,” said Coach Jen Scanlon, the most successful head coach in Pomona-Pitzer history. “We made some big plays on defense to keep CMS off the scoreboard and that kept us in the game and gave us a chance at the end. We were composed and believed in our game plan and our ability to find a way to win the game.”
“I absolutely think we can finish the season with a perfect sweep [of SCIAC],” Dudley-Berrios says. Coach Scanlon and Dudley-Berrios both believe the Sagehens can continue their hot streak throughout the season. “Our primary goal from the beginning has been to finish the league in first place, something [we] have not done in my three years here.”
For both the Sagehens and the Athenas, the future looks bright. As the regular season comes to a close, both Claremont powerhouses will continue to fight for intra-conference dominance. But this fight won’t be easy, something Dudley-Berrios knows all too well.
“It's gonna take hard work and a lot of mental strength, but there's no doubt in my mind that we can do it all.”
The Sagehens next face the Whittier College Poets on Saturday, Oct. 15, while the Athenas take on the Occidental College Tigers at home on the same day.