Women's Lacrosse Earns First-Ever NCAA Win, Topples Oxy 7-5

Women's Lacrosse Earns First-Ever NCAA Win, Topples Oxy 7-5

Claremont, Calif. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Lacrosse team fell behind 3-0 early, but responded with seven unanswered goals spanning both halves and went on to capture a 7-5 win over Occidental in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championships on Sunday afternoon at Pomona-Pitzer's South Athletic Complex.

The win was the 10th in a row for the Sagehens, who improve to 15-3 on the year and capture the first NCAA Tournament win in the brief history of the program. Pomona-Pitzer earned its first bid a year ago, before falling to Redlands in the opening round. Occidental sees its season end at 11-7, with four of the losses coming to the Sagehens.

The Tigers started out the contest looking like they might turn the tables on Pomona-Pitzer, which won the last meeting in the SCIAC Championship game last Saturday 8-3. Occidental scored the game's first three goals, with Alida Beck, Sierra Slack and Beebe Finch Sanders finding the net in succession to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Tigers just 14:21 into the game.

The Sagehens did not break the ice until just 7:27 was left in the first half, as Hannah Christenson converted off a pass from Sarah Markowitz in front to cut the lead to 3-1. Occidental was also whistled for a foul after the shot, and Pomona-Pitzer took possession without a draw control, scoring again as Sallie Marx scored in front off a lob pass from Katie Savino just 51 seconds later. Christenson then scored her second with 1:20 left off a feed from Aubrey Douglass to tie the score going into the half.

Pomona-Pitzer kept the momentum going after halftime with four straight goals to push the lead to 7-3.  Rebecca Long scored an unassisted goal just 1:36 into the second half to give the Sagehens their first lead at 4-3, and Markowitz scored two straight goals on a free position shot and a fast break (off a pass from Ally McLaughlin) to put Pomona-Pitzer in front 6-3 just 7:02 into the second stanza.

The 7-0 run was then capped off with the second goal from Long, who cut through the Occidental defense and bounced in a high shot from in front of the cage to put the Sagehens up 7-3 with 17:03 to play. Finch Sanders ended the run with a free position goal with 13:47 to go, but that was nearly the end of the scoring, as Rebecca Reese scored the final goal for Occidental with just 4.2 seconds left on a free position shot to make the final score 7-5.

Gaby Fukumura had a solid game in goal for Pomona-Pitzer, tallying 10 saves, six of which came in the second half to prevent Occidental from making a comeback. The Tigers finished with a 20-13 advantage in shots and a 15-9 edge in shots on goal, as Adrienne Ruth had only two saves in goal for Occidental, due to her defense forcing 18 turnovers.  McLaughlin (pictured) had four ground balls, three caused turnovers and three draw controls. 

Pomona-Pitzer will move on to the regionals next weekend for the first time in program history and will face No. 1 Trinity (Conn.), which it has never played before. The Sagehens had one game against a NESCAC opponent this season, falling 12-11 in overtime to Wesleyan after losing a two-goal lead in the final minute of regulation. Trinity, which has won 18 straight games since an opening-day loss to Colby (11-10), defeated Wesleyan 12-7, while Pomona-Pitzer will enter next weekend's match-up with a 10-game win streak of its own.