P-P Women’s Soccer Advances to NCAA Sweet 16

The most successful Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer season in recent memory continued last weekend in thrilling fashion as the Sagehens (16-1-3, 12-0-3 SCIAC) dominated their opponents at home in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, P-P dished out a 5-2 drubbing of the visiting University of California, Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, and returned to the field Sunday for a 6-0 dismantling of Sixth Street Rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas. The Sagehens breezed through both games and have won all three meetings against CMS this season.

Midfielder Bria VarnBuhler PO ‘20 led the team in Saturday’s contest with two goals, with her first coming less than eight minutes into the game. Her first make was an unassisted goal, and her second goal glanced off the crossbar before bouncing in to put the Sagehens up 4-0 in the 68th minute.

P-P went up 2-0 when midfielder/forward Agueda Dudley-Berrios PO ‘17 headed in the ball off a cross from Katie Tao PO ‘17 with 6 minutes and 22 seconds remaining in the first half. After the break, Second Team all-SCIAC selection and forward Danika Bethune PO ‘17 extended the lead by sending a diagonal shot across the goal-mouth eight minutes into the second half.

The Sagehens’ final tally came from forward Lily Gane PZ ‘20, who kneed the ball into the goal at close range thanks to an assist from midfielder Sofia Barsher PZ ‘19 with nine minutes to go.

With the game under control, veteran head coach Jen Scanlon subbed out her starters, and the Banana Slugs promptly scored two goals in quick succession. But, the Sagehens still had a large lead, and Scanlon said she did not consider putting her starters back in.

“We just got a little disorganized, and kind of lost our focus,” she explained. “All those players are capable of playing and competing at this level, but you get a lot of people who aren’t used to playing a lot of minutes together, and things get disorganized.”

Overall, Scanlon was pleased with the winning effort, saying that the team “did a really good job putting them under pressure, creating opportunities, finishing, organized defensively, till the last 10 minutes or so,” she said.

That winning effort carried over to Sunday, leading to an easy rout of cross-campus rival CMS 6-0.

The Sagehens now travel to Wisconsin to face the No. 7 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks on Saturday, Nov. 19. Whitewater is on a 21-game winning streak, a program record, and also set the record for most single-season wins this season.

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