Sports in Brief Oct. 2

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Author: Ryan Whalen

Men’s Soccer (2-7 Overall, 1-5 SCIAC)
The Occidental men’s soccer team (2-7 Overall, 1-5 SCIAC) has been in an offensive lull since the start of the season, only scoring more than one goal in two of its nine games. However, the Tigers’ offensive capabilities were on display last Wednesday when they cruised to a 9-0 victory over Caltech. Senior forward Marcus Brandford led the attack with two goals while eight other Tigers found the back of the net. The win also marked the team’s first SCIAC victory of the season. The black and orange’s success was brief, as they followed up their blow-out against the Beavers with a 1-0 loss to Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday. After giving up a goal just 11 minutes into play, the Tigers bounced back with stifling defense and shut the Sagehens out for the rest of the game. But the offensive woes returned to the Tigers’ attack, and they were unable to score an equalizing goal in the remaining 80 minutes. Occidental takes to the pitch again tonight, traveling to La Verne at 7 p.m.

Volleyball (9-4 overall, 3-2 SCIAC)
The Tiger volleyball team faced off against 5th-ranked Cal Lutheran on Friday in a rematch of last year’s conference semifinals. The Regals stifled the Tigers’ normally high-powered offense, and Occidental was only able to achieve a .069 kill ratio en route to a 3-0 loss (25-12, 25-16, 25-23). The black and orange was able to bounce back on Saturday with a five-set win over Pomona-Pitzer. Sophomore outside hitter Dana Michels carried the squad, spiking a career-high 27 kills, while setter Tiareh Cruz (first-year) racked up 51 assists filling in for injured starter Jessie Altman (senior). The team hosts Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Men’s Water Polo (0-10 overall, 0-0 SCIAC)
The men’s water polo team’s struggles continued this weekend, as the Tigers were unable to record a victory in both of their contests. The team was able to hold Santa Clara’s The black and orange was able to hold Santa Clara’s offense for awhile in Saturday’s match-up, but eventually picked up a 12-6 loss. In the second game of the afternoon, Occidental looked poised to take its first win of the season in a nail-biter against Fresno Pacific, but again lost a heart-breaker 9-8 and extended its losing streak to 10 games. The squad will participate in the Gary Troyer Convergence this weekend at the La Verne Aquatic Center, opening the tournament against Penn State-Behrend on Friday at 10 a.m.

Cross Country
The men’s and women’s Occidental cross country teams traveled to Minnesota to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday. The race proved a success for the squads, both of which placed athletes in the top 33 in a competition that included some of the top 300 Division-III runners. Junior transfer John Guzman Aguilar led the men’s side, posting a time of 25:55.3 minutes and finishing in second place overall. His time was also only one of two under 26 minutes, as the course was slowed with heavy rain and wind. Teammate Colin Smith (junior) finished in 25th place despite running with a strained hamstring. After all the points were tallied, the men’s team turned in a sixth-place performance in the 26-team field. On the women’s side, Jenna Wong (senior) led the team with a 32nd place finish, posting a time of 24:15.4 minutes. Sophomore Megan Bull crossed the line less than 30 seconds after Wong, capturing 53rd place and helping her team earn 12th overall out of 29 teams. The Tigers travel to the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Dana Michels
The Occidental volleyball team (9-4 overall, 3-2 SCIAC) is off to a fast start this season and outside hitter Dana Michels (sophomore) has contributed greatly to their success. Michels has been the primary target for the Tigers’ offense, currently leading the team with 187 kills. This off-season, Michels made the move from middle hitter to outside hitter her natural position from high school allowing her to feel more comfortable at the helm of the attack after the graduation of two standout outside hitters from last season. Her height and athleticism have played integral roles within the black and orange’s defense as well. She has accounted for three blocks and is third on the team in the digs department with 113. A great deal of Michels’ success also stems from the contributions of her supporting cast. Seniors Stephanie Gann and Alyssa Mort have both recorded over 125 kills, forcing defenses to spread out and open lanes for Michels. Additionally, most of her kills would not be possible without setter Jessie Altman’s (senior) 365 assists so far on the campaign. Nevertheless, Michels continues to emerge as an impact player for her squad, already tallying 75 more kills than her mark from all of last season just 13 games in. Michels and company host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

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