Women’s lacrosse hopes winning start leads to SCIAC championship

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Emma Rogers (sophomore) goes for a ground ball against Baldwin Wallace University players at Occidental College. Friday, Mar. 8, 2019. Audrey Rudolph/The Occidental

Occidental’s women’s lacrosse team completed the first round of conference games for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Wednesday, March 6. The team ended the first round with a 3–2 record. This is the first step in achieving their goal to win a SCIAC championship, Neah Bois (senior) said.

According to goalkeeper Bois, part of their success is due to their new head coach, Hannah Khin. Khin was previously the assistant coach for the women’s lacrosse team two years ago, which allowed her to take a more assertive role as a head coach.

“It’s nice that [Khin] already knew the Occidental program … so her return was pretty seamless,” Bois said. “She gave a new perspective to the team. She wants to win and she wants to make a big impact and she’s been able to do that. We all want to play and win for her.”

The team’s biggest win was against Redlands Feb. 27, resulting in a final score of 17–6. Bois said Occidental and Redlands have had a huge rivalry for years. Winning this game gave the team a sense of pride because Redlands is a highly competitive, physical rival. From the beginning to the end of the game, the women’s team played aggressively, according to Bois.

“It’s always a game that I feel most nervous for,” Bois said. “So when we came out automatically and just started scoring and our defense was making saves and holding their best player to no goals, it was a moment where I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this team’s good. This team can compete.’”

Defensive player Emma Barrow (junior), Bois and Khin all said the team’s greatest accomplishment was the game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) March 2. CMS is a nationally ranked team and top in their conference. Despite the 6–12 loss, the team felt accomplished because they held CMS to their lowest number of goals this season. At half time, Occidental’s team was down by two. When the second half arrived, they were able to tie the game 5–5, Khin said.

“Our game against CMS was a really big game. We knew we were going in as the underdog; I think mentally that’s always hard, knowing you’re playing the best team,” Khin said. “We were really excited and positive to be competing at such a high level with them. Unfortunately, we lost that rhythm towards the second half, but our defense has been doing a really good job of keeping our team in the game.”

According to Barrow, they’ve never come that close to beating CMS. She was proud of her team for being competitive all the way through to the second half, even though it did result in a loss.

Part of the reason the women were able to play so competitively against CMS is their support for each other. The group dynamic improves how they play because they listen to constructive criticism, according to Barrow.

“Our chemistry as a team is really high. We’re really connected so we play really seamlessly together,” Bois said. “Our team is extremely close-knit. I can truly say that everyone on my team is my best friend. Everyone is so connected … everyone gets to play. We’re all way too close to each other. We all know each other so well.”

Everyone has stepped up and is willing to do everything they can to achieve their goal, Khin said. One thing they talk about that will help them reach their goal is constantly holding each other accountable to play and practice hard. According to Bois, they treat each practice like a game, always playing with high intensity and determination. When things get tough in a game, they are prepared and can persevere through the hard moments.

Alessandra Pelliccia (junior) takes on a Baldwin Wallace University defender at Occidental College. Friday, Mar. 8, 2019. Audrey Rudolph/The Occidental

Khin has many goals for the team, including helping each player improve, being competitive and, most importantly, having each of the players on the field be a threat.

“When every player is a threat, it makes it a lot harder to scout and for other teams to figure out who’s going to dominate the game,” Khin said.

Khin and the women’s lacrosse team want to make it to the SCIAC championship playoffs, which is why they dedicate so much time and energy to practice, according to Barrow.

“A lot of our girls are hungry for success and are willing to work super hard to get there,” Barrow said. “Maybe we’re a little young, maybe we’re rebuilding from last year, but that’s just motivation for us.”

According to Khin, she was excited to join the Occidental women’s lacrosse community because she knows the girls on the team want to be there.

“Oxy students all want to be at practice, they all want to compete and get better,” Khin said. “I know these players love lacrosse, and they really want to be the best.”

The second round of SCIAC games for the team start April 6.