Author: Malcolm MacLeod
After earning a bye in the first round of the SCIAC tournament, the women’s lacrosse team suffered an unexpected loss to Chapman on Saturday. Having won the SCIAC last season, the Tigers had high expectations going into this year’s tournament but did not allow themselves to become complacent down the stretch.
According to Haley Gandsey (senior), there have always been a clear-cut top three teams in the SCIAC, Occidental being one of them. However, that was not the case this season, so the Tigers have had to take every one of their opponents seriously.
“There are really no easy W’s this year,” Gandsey said.
Never discounting an opponent held true Saturday when the Tigers fell 13-10 to Chapman, who they had beaten twice already this season.
The Tigers came out strong, taking the lead with two early goals. However, a lull in the Occidental attack allowed Chapman to even the score, something it would continue to do every time the Tigers seemed to gain the upper hand. While attacker Tori Larson (junior) had some success to lead the team’s scoring effort, the Panthers played physical defense, stifling the Tiger offense’s ability to effectively move the ball.
In contrast to their defense, the Panther offense failed to take the lead until late in the game. But the unit was consistent and managed to keep the score close throughout due to a number of fast break goals from Chapman’s Kelsey Mackin and Delaine De Beer.
The teams went into halftime tied at seven goals apiece. Occidental’s offense secured the lead once more on a leaping goal from Larson, who led the team in scoring this season.
The turning point for Chapman came on a penalty shot from De Beer, who tied the score at eight with twenty minutes left in the half, shifting the momentum in her team’s favor.
Chapman scored again shortly after, digging a hole for the tiring Occidental defense. The Tigers caught a break when a yellow card reversed the goal, but the Chapman offense remained diligent, using its string of successful scores as motivation, putting pressure on the Tigers to keep the score even.
The Tigers took the lead for the last time with 16 minutes remaining on a goal from Larson. From then on, however, the Tigers couldn’t keep pace, and the Panthers pounced at the opportunity to overwhelm the black and orange.
In the final 12 minutes of the game, the Panthers scored three unanswered goals that would secure their victory. Chapman will play against Redlands next weekend for the SCIAC Championship.
The Tigers finish their campaign at 8-10 overall and 6-5 in the conference.
“The SCIAC is the most competitive it has ever been this year,” Lauren Wemple (senior) said.
With a strong class of junior leadership and a number of underclass standouts, the Tigers look to bounce back next season, which will be their fifth in official varsity competition.
“As a team, our goal every day is to be able to say that our team today could beat our team yesterday. If the answer is yes, nothing else matters,” Gandsey said.
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