The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s lacrosse team (2-1, 2-0 SCIAC) picked up right where they left off last season, dominating the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (2-1, 1-1 SCIAC) in a 15-5 win last Saturday.
The Athenas are the reigning SCIAC champions, and boast a 15-game SCIAC regular-season win streak dating back to 2016 — and they lived up to their billing. Early in the game, the Sagehens were confronted by the Athenas’ stifling defense, and failed to score a single goal within the first half.
“Even though I’m an attacker, good defensive stops are always a highlight for me,” Lauren Clubb CM ’18 said. “It’s fun to watch our defense work so well together.”
Within the first minute, Clubb took advantage of her team’s solid defense and scored the game’s first goal for the Athenas. Six minutes later, the Athenas scored twice more as Evan Murphy CM ’18 and Allie Hill CM ’20 shot one goal each, with assists from Emily Cohen CM ’20.
The middle of the first period was filled with multiple turnovers and fouls, and it was not until 22 minutes into the game that Corie Hack CM ’19 scored a fourth goal for the Athenas. With roughly five minutes remaining, Sally Abel CM ’21 scored with an assist from Clubb, and Sally Carlson CM ’20 tallied a point as well, propelling the Athenas into halftime with a six-point lead over the Sagehens.
Even though the Sagehens fell into an early hole, Lilly Thomey PO ’19 was proud of the team’s defensive unit and their response to the Athenas’ vigorous offense in the first half.
“One highlight from the game against CMS was our strong defense in the middle of the first half that just would not quit,” Thomey said.
The Athenas came into the second period with an aggressive strategy that helped them score three more quick goals from Hack, Blaire Southmayd CM ’21, and Murphy, putting them up 9-0.
Despite the large deficit, the Sagehens were able to get themselves on the scoreboard by switching around some defenders and boosting their energy on the field.
In particular, the Sagehens looked to make better passes and connect with one another more effectively in the midfield. With an assist from Sophie Hubbell PZ ’20, Thyra Hermann PZ ’21 scored P-P’s first goal five minutes into the second period.
The Athenas responded with two consecutive goals from Cohen and another from Hill before the Sagehens could battle back with two of their own from Thomey and Hubbell halfway through the third period. The Athenas then tacked on two more goals, stretching the lead back to 11.
Eventually, by the time the final whistle blew, the Athenas led 15-5, having secured an easy win over their rivals.
Hack was proud of the way her team handled their composure and also “work[ed] together as a single unit,” even with nine first-year players.
“There are always things to improve, but our chemistry this year is good because we have so many returners,” Clubb added.
Despite the lopsided loss, Lauren English PO ’19 was pleased that P-P’s first-years and returners “[kept] fighting the whole game.”
“We have put in a ton of practice,” she added. “It’s great to start playing games and see all the hard work we have put in pay off,” she said.
The Sagehens team welcomed eight first-years, whose “new energy” has excited returners like Thomey. With this adjustment, the team has still been figuring out game dynamics on the field.
“We learned a lot about how we play together as a team, and can learn from our successes and mistakes from the CMS game,” English said. Overall, she felt that “taking more offensive risks” and having “more communication would have changed the game drastically.”
Clubb hopes the Athenas are able to return to the NCAA championships later this season, and “make it farther in the tournament,” after losing to their regional rivals from Colorado College last year.
With their eyes on the national championship, Hack said the Athenas are “trying to work to each other’s strengths and blend together as one cohesive unit and team.”