Alessandra Pelliccia and Lucas Chmielewski dig in to win The Occidental’s Athlete of the Week

Alessandra Pelliccia (sophomore) is on the lacrosse team. Taken at Occidental College in Los Angeles on Monday, April 2, 2018. Hannah Schoenberger / The Occidental

Alessandra Pelliccia (sophomore) scored five goals out of six shots on goal, helping propel the women’s lacrosse team to a 20–6 victory over Goucher College March 21. Along with contributing on both offense and defense, the Spanish and Diplomacy and World Affairs double major helped the Tigers gain possession with three draw controls — meaning she gained possession in a face-off situation — the second most on the team that game.

According to Pelliccia, she and the rest of the team knew they had to change their approach to conserve energy going into the game. It would be their second game in two days, something they had never done before.

“We were playing smarter, not playing harder,” Pelliccia said.

Pelliccia said her ability to gain possession and carry the ball from the start pushed her to maintain momentum seen in the five goals.

“We were doing pretty good on the draw that game,” Pelliccia said. “I was taking them and I thought they were going pretty well so that helped us get possession and allowed me to carry the ball on offense.”

Head coach Stephanie Mark backed up Pelliccia’s (or “AP,” as she is known on the team) versatility both in the game against Goucher and throughout the season.

“AP is critical to our draw, defense, and offense as a major threat — her speed, quickness, and great stickwork are all parts of Oxy’s success that other teams have to take note of,” Mark said via email.

Captain and career points record holder Sierra Slack (senior) recognized Pelliccia’s value to the team as well, noting her performance both in the Goucher game as well as her near-milestone accomplishment in a game against Pomona-Pitzer March 28. She scored her 100th career goal during the game, only for the referee to take it off the board because of a supposed rule infraction. Nevertheless, Slack and the rest of the team supported Pelliccia in her accomplishment.

“Her two good friends on the team brought cookies and everything,” Slack said. “She was only three goals away so we thought she was gonna get it. She got it and we were all excited so we ate the cookies celebrating her 99th. I see her breaking a lot of Oxy records [in the future].”

Pelliccia said her favorite food is any sort of pasta as long as it has no tomatoes, and that her favorite TV show is “The Office.” Her favorite class at Occidental is History of the Spanish Language in the Spanish department.

Lucas Chmielewski (first year) led the men’s tennis team to another victory March 20, winning the number one singles matchup 6–2, 6–0, and winning the number one doubles matchup 8–6 with teammate Isa Kibira (senior). They beat Pacific Lutheran University Mar. 29, bringing their record to 6–6 overall.

Chmielewski battles Crohn’s disease, a digestive condition that limits his energy levels. Crohn’s disease can also lead to pain in the abdomen and unintended weight loss.

“Growing up, I’ve always felt as a part of this underdog community and I feel like that’s how Oxy has always been in tennis. We’re now really starting to prove ourself and I feel like I’m really starting to step up too,” Chmielewski said.

Head coach Rachel Manasse described Chmielewski’s unique playing style.

“Lucas is a deceiving player,” Manasse said via email. “He remains calm, takes his time to construct points with angles and slices, then will pull the trigger with an aggressive forehand. His ability to use several types of shots makes him incredibly frustrating to play against.”

Chmielewski said he believes his demeanor on the court combined with his smaller frame and strategy frustrate his opponents and make him a formidable opponent.

“I look very tired when I play … and I don’t sweat during it when I play and that comes from Crohn’s too, but that’s part of this kind of lazy style and that really annoys a lot of people,” Chmielewski said.

According to Chmielewski, he must eat during matches to keep his energy levels up.

“I eat a lot of regular food during matches, like right now my favorite thing is Chipotle during matches,” Chmielewski said.

Kibira gave another example of Chmielewski’s eating “regular food” in the context of tennis.

“Lucas is constantly trying to get the team to hang out more off the court. I can’t tell if he intends to build a sense of community or feed his Donut Friend addiction, but the result is positive,” Kibira said via text.

Chmielewski is a prospective Economics major who said his favorite food is any Thai food from the neighboring Eagle Rock restaurants. He said his favorite musical artist is G-Eazy.