On a scorching Saturday afternoon, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Lacrosse (10-0 SCIAC) tamed the Occidental College Tigers (5-5 SCIAC) with a final score of 17-5. It was a fitting game for the Athenas’ senior day, as all four seniors contributed to the win.
The Tigers did not go down without a fight. They scored on the first play of the game, and challenged the Athenas defensively throughout the duration. However, key player substitutions were made early on, preventing any substantial damage.
“We started off the game a little slow but as soon as we were able to recognize that the fast break would be the best way to beat their defense, we were able to really push the tempo and get a couple of great, quick passes into the middle for some awesome goals,” Oona Pritchard CM ’17 said.
The win completed the first undefeated season in conference for the graduating seniors, who will lead their number one seeded team into the SCIAC tournament this weekend.
“Our senior class has been instrumental in changing the culture of this program and their leadership is a large part of why we are seeing success this season,” head coach Lauren Uhr said..
Cara Cancelmo CM ’17 and Zoe Pinczower CM ’17 had particularly impressive performances. Cancelmo scored three of the Athenas’ goals, and Pinczower showed off her speed on a couple of important transitions.
“I am really proud of our team for what we have accomplished this entire season,” Pinczower said. “Looking back on my past four years, this has not only been our most successful season as a team, but also the most enjoyable group of people to play with and spend 20 plus hours a week with.”
As the team prepares for the SCIAC tournament, they have their eyes set on the championship title and then an NCAA tournament berth — which would be the first in program history. They are working to balance their excitement with the reality that there are still games left to play and nothing is guaranteed.
“Our coaches have been motivating us with a game-by-game mentality,” Evan Murphy CM ’18 said. “So going into Saturday our goal will be to play our best and win that game before we think about playing in a championship.”
The Athenas have been practicing every day since January, so the need to take things day-by-day is no new concept. That said, excitement is not a bad thing when it gets you through the long haul of the season. The players expressed that they are thrilled to be heading in as the number one seed, which lessened the impact of their grueling schedule.
Uhr said that the team is even better equipped for success against opponents the second time around: “Having seen our conference opponents multiple times now, we are mainly focusing on the details of our game, but will be sure to remind ourselves on how to counter.”
The Athenas will take on the University of Redlands at home in the SCIAC Tournament semi-finals on Saturday at 11 a.m.