Author: Daniel Terner
The Occidental Tigers (10-5, 6-4) dominated the Whittier Poets (2-13, 0-10) from start to finish in the women’s lacrosse matchup last Saturday, winning 16-2 on Senior Day to wrap up a memorable season.
The Tigers displayed a potent defense led by seniors Monica Rosenkranz, goalie Adrienne Ruth and co-captain Kristin Feinberg*, who did not let in a goal until more than 27 minutes into the first half. By that time though, the Tigers already enjoyed a 10 goal lead. Juniors Alessandra Quaroni and Katie Leyden also played well for the Tigers on defense.
“It was nice to see our defense really hold things strong,” co-captain Alida Beck (senior) said. “Only giving up two goals is pretty unheard of in a lacrosse game.”
The Poets were consistently frustrated by the Tigers’ defense, which forced 23 of Whitter’s 24 turnovers on the afternoon and launched Oxy’s efficient attack on the break.
“Defensively, we have a certain standard, what we’re looking for, regardless of what the other team is doing,” head coach Stephanie Janice Mark said. “So it was really about playing our game, and defensively making plays. Their job is to start our offense, and I think they did that.”
Everything was working for the Tigers’ on offense as well, and they passed the ball at will through the Whittier defense, aided by good movement and rotations en route to posting a season-high nine assists. Rebecca Reese (sophomore) and Sierra Slack (first-year) led all scorers with four goals each, and Slack added three assists. Brita Loeb (junior) and Ciara Byrne (first-year) also scored multiple times, and Beck tallied both a goal and an assist.
But it was senior stand-out and co-captain Beebe Finch Sanders who led the Tigers’ offensive effort with six draw-controls, helping Occidental win 12 overall draws to Whitter’s eight. Finch Sanders also added a goal and four assists during the afternoon.
“We did really well feeding into the eight and getting lots of assists. Making each other look good, that’s really what today was about,” Finch Sanders said after the game. “Everyone was really focused emotionally and physically, it could have been our last home game.”
The game was preceded by a Senior Day ceremony including the families of each of the five seniors—Finch Sanders, Beck, Ruth, Rosenkranz and Feinberg—that highlighted their impressive contributions to the community over the course of their careers. Mark had high praise for a group that has seen the team undergo significant changes and challenges since they joined four years ago.
“They lead by example, they have great attitudes, they’re really competitive, they’re great teammates and they’re stepping up like seniors should,” Mark said. “I am really proud of them and everything they’ve contributed to the program.
The seniors this year anchor a tight-knit Tiger squad that at times has been forced to play without subs. The adversity the seniors, and the team as a whole, have faced seems to have brought them closer together.
“I just wanted a really good team effort,” Rosenkranz said after the game. “We win as a team and we lose as a team, and I really thought we were firing on all cylinders on both the attack and the defense.”
Beck also spoke of the team when looking back at her Tiger career after senior day.
“It’s pretty wild to think that four years have already gone by,” Beck said. “But I loved this season and this team more than anything. It was a pretty good day.”
Though the occasion marked their last regular-season home game, the season is not yet over for the Tigers, who enter the SCIAC playoffs this week looking to make a run at the title.
With the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps loss to Chapman on Saturday, and a Bulldog defeat in the hands of the Sagehens on Monday, the Tigers earned a first-round bye in the SCIAC tournament.
Asked what her team needs to do to have success in the tournament, goalkeeper Ruth hoped that the team could build on the momentum of Saturday’s victory.
“Come out strong,” she said. “We never want to underestimate anyone in the SCIAC. You never know when we could have an off day and someone else could have an on day. Today’s theme was taking care of business—and I think that for the playoffs, the biggest key is just constantly coming through and taking care of business.”
*Kristin Feinberg is a member of The Occidental Weekly.
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