Women's Soccer Finishes Strong; Three Hens Recognized by SCIAC

The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens finished the season strong with a three-game win streak over the last week of October. The streak nearly propelled them into fourth place and a spot in the conference playoffs.  Unfortunately, the Sagehens finished just out of fourth place by a mere three points, and ended only five points behind the third place team. 

The Hens' first win of the week came against a very physical La Verne team.  Although La Verne finished last in SCIAC this year, they were a tough team to beat.  On October 25th, the Hens traveled to La Verne for their first match against the Leopards, a game that had been rescheduled because of a rainout earlier in the season.  The Hens, after suffering injuries to both of their goalkeepers, started field player Jana London in goal.  London played admirably, allowing just one goal on the day off a long-range shot that was lofted into the top corner and out of reach. That goal came in the 43rd minute of play and the Sagehens had to regroup. The comeback didn’t take long, as Claudia Zaugg came up big for the Hens, stealing the ball from the La Verne keeper and passing it into the back of the net with just seven seconds left on the clock before halftime.  The second half was dominated by Pomona-Pitzer as they looked for the go-ahead goal.  And the Hens finally took the lead after Martha Marich scored from a fabulous header off of Allie Tao's corner kick in the 77th minute.  The rest of the half the Leopards attempted to even the score, but Pomona-Pitzer shut them down and came out with a 2-1 win on the road.

The Hens' next contest came only two days later against their 6th street rivals, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.  The game was played under the lights at CMS's home field.  The 150 screaming fans who came out to watch the match were not disappointed.  The game was a tough fought battle for all 90 minutes.  The CMS Athenas started quickly, and put the Hens under a lot of pressure.  Freshman goalkeeper, Emma Wolfarth, playing in her first collegiate match, kept the Athenas at bay in the first half, with some help from a tenacious Hens' defense.  An amazing goal by junior Traci Lopez in the 17th minute put the Hens up 1-0. Lopez created the goal by hustling to chase down a long ball, touching it by the goalkeeper and then slotting it back across the goal into the net. The Athenas came out hard in the second half, again putting pressure on the Hens defense. Pomona-Pitzer stayed organized and showed great team defense, but the pressure finally paid off for CMS when a string of passes ended with a header goal in the 61st minute of play.  However, the Hens would not be denied the victory against their rivals.  Showing resilience and a desire to find any way to win, they came back to take the lead 11 minutes later.  Freshman Allie Tao sprinted onto the ball from a Rachel Eckerlin header at midfield.  Tao showed real composure to hold off a defender and time her shot perfectly, chipping the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper and into the net.  The rest of the half, CMS fought hard to tie the game, but came up just short. The lead was preserved after an impressive save by Wolfarth, who somehow tipped a hard shot over the crossbar with only four minutes left to play and the Hens closed out the game for 2-1 victory over the Athenas.

The Hens' final game was played on Saturday, October 30th.  The seniors of both La Verne and Pomona-Pitzer were recognized in the last contest of their college careers.  The Sagehens recognized Chelsea Muir, Katie Kerr, and Jenn Nishioka.  All three seniors will be missed very much next season and the Pomona-Pitzer soccer program would like to wish them luck in the future.  A special senior, Rachel Eckerlin, was recognized with her class but will still be returning for the 2011 season to finish her fourth year of NCAA eligibility.  The game between the Hens and the Leopards was exciting, with four goals coming in the first half, and two in the second.  The Sagehens came out firing, scoring goals in the 6th and 8th minutes for a quick 2-0 lead.  Freshman Allie Tao assisted Eckerlin for the first goal, and Eckerlin returned the favor, assisting Tao on the second goal just two minutes later.  However, the Leopards were not going to give up easily, putting Pomona-Pitzer under pressure at the end of the half and finishing two quick goals of their own to tie the game 2-2.  The second half was another story.  The Hens came out strong and dominated the entire half.  Tao scored two goals in the second half, in the 57th and 76th minute off of assists from freshman Katie Robinson and junior Traci Lopez.  Tao finished the game with three goals and an assist for her first collegiate hat-trick.  All 18 available players contributed to the win, in front of a big home crowd attending the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Soccer Family Day event. 

Three Sagehens were honored for their performances this season. Senior Rachel Eckerlin was named to the All-SCIAC 1st Team, sophomore Jordan Bryant was named to the 2nd team, and senior Chelsea Muir was awarded the SCIAC/Brine Award of Distinction, given to an individual who exemplifies the ideals of a well-rounded student-athlete that serves the community.