Claremont, Calif. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Lacrosse team fell 7-6 to visiting Occidental in a low-scoring, hard-fought contest on Saturday afternoon at Merritt Field.
An admirable performance from sophomore goalie Casey Leek (Bucharest, Romania - pictured), who registered 14 saves on 21 shots faced, kept the fatigued Sagehens, battling without substitutes due to injuries, within striking distance of their opponents, but the Tigers were able to hold off a late Pomona-Pitzer charge to secure victory.
The Sagehens will be disappointed with the defeat after pulling within a goal with roughly seven minutes left in the second half; however, they can take solace in their best defensive showing of the young season.
Occidental started off the game in charge of its tempo, dominating possession and the early chances. Poor finishing, shots caroming off the posts, and fabulous stops from Leek, though, prevented the Tigers from taking the lead until Haley Gandsey scored on a free position shot with about 14 minutes played.
A Rebecca Belding goal followed to give Occidental a two-goal advantage, but well-placed finishes from sophomore Kaitlin Jones (Minneapolis, MN.) and senior Martha Marich (Mclean, Va.), the reigning SCIAC women's athlete of the week, leveled the score with 7:23 left in the half. Rebecca Belding then regained the lead for Occidental before freshman Julie Necarsulmer (Kennett Square, PA) equalized on a free position shot with just seven second remaining until intermission.
The Tigers started the second half with the same intensity as they had in the first, but with greater focus in front of goal. Beebe Finch- Sanders scored 22 seconds after play re-commenced and Sarah Kessler beat Leek twice to give the Tigers a 3-goal advantage and what appeared to be a chance to pull away from the pesky Sagehens.
Pomona-Pitzer, however, held their ground from that point forward and a goal from sophomore Logan Galansky (Denver, Colo.) cut down the Sagehens' deficit once again. Galansky, who had been frustrated by the Occidental defense for most of the game, received the ball in Pomona-Pitzer's half, dashed by a series of markers and deposited her chance into Tiger goalie Adrienne Ruth's net.
Marich then scored to put Pomona-Pitzer down one with 13 minutes left in the contest, but Tori Larson quickly followed with her own strike, allowing Occidental some breathing room. Galansky's second goal of the encounter came 4 minutes later, however, the Tigers were able to pass the ball around confidently, possessing rather than go for additional goals, until the clock finally ran out on the Sagehens' comeback.
Pomona-Pitzer, now 1-3 overall and in SCIAC after the defeat, return to the field on Tuesday for a non-conference tilt against Adrian College.