Occidental women’s volleyball played three games within the last week, yet first-year Claire Strohm was able to maintain her high level of play throughout. She led the team in kills in all three games, and tallied a total of 35 for the week.
This season the Tigers gained a large first-year class after losing five players after graduation. As one of these first-year starters, Strohm acknowledged the team’s hardships as well as her drive to stay positive.
“I thought that we really saw some moments of greatness and every game we are improving,” Strohm said. “It is just being disciplined and perfecting the little things that we need to focus on. We have such amazing leaders and upperclassmen on the team that I really look up to and they have really been working on making us a cohesive unit.”
One of these upperclassmen, Captain Megan Olayinka (senior), spoke to Strohm’s dedication and endurance. Olayinka said she sees great potential in both Strohm and the team going forward.
“She’s inspiring to play with because she demonstrates her love of the game and has a great attitude,” Olayinka said. “She has really strong leadership skills and she’s a great teammate.”
In a matter of 59 seconds, a seemingly unknown first-year burst onto the scene for Occidental men’s soccer. Forward Tod Kawada scored four of the Tiger’s five goals—three between the 14th and 15th minute—in a 5–3 victory over La Verne last Monday.
Kawada scored his first three goals in just 59 seconds, setting the tone for the rest of the game. He also assisted the fifth goal by Michael Tonetti (junior)*.
“Fortunately, my teammates gave me great passes that I was able to convert,” Kawada said. “I am fortunate that we work well together as a team, that my teammates are strong and that the coaches are so supportive and encouraging.”
Kawada is not alone in his passion and support for his team. Captain Garrett Schwab (senior) showed his pride for Kawada’s success and game-play.
“Swaggy T has been a tremendous addition to our attack,” Schwab said. “Not only is he very technically gifted, but he has a great work rate.”
Head coach Rod Lafaurie spoke to Kawada’s offensive skills, but he also had high praise for the forward’s growth off the pitch.
“The most important thing that Tod does, the most fundamental thing that Tod does tremendously, is that he’s a great person,” Lafaurie said via email. “He’s a great teammate, he’s humble, he’s hungry.”
*Micheal Tonetti is a senior writer for the Occidental Weekly