Women’s Lacrosse (3-0 overall, 3-0 SCIAC)
The Occidental women’s lacrosse team has started off its 2014 campaign with clutch victories over three top league opponents. The Tigers took down rivals Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer, adding to their season-opening victory over Chapman and emerging as an early conference contender. Occidental matched up against defending SCIAC champion Redlands last Wednesday and pulled off a 15-12 comeback victory. Forwards Mackenzie Wright (sophomore) and Alida Beck (junior) led the offensive charge, netting four goals apiece. Although the black and orange defensive had trouble keeping Redlands off the board, the Tigers never let go of the lead after Beck’s go-ahead goal with 12:47 minutes left in the contest. Saturday’s game against the Sagehens also proved to be a nail-biter, as the Occidental squad required extra time to put the match away. The team asserted its versatility with scoring distribution, as six different players scored at least one goal apiece. Wright stole the show with the golden goal with under a minute remaining in overtime. Senior midfielder Rebecca Belding zipped a pass to Wright, who then rocketed a shot past the Sagehen goalie, giving Occidental an 8-7 victory. The Tigers return to action Saturday, hosting Whittier at 1 p.m.
Men’s Basketball (11-12 overall, 6-8 SCIAC)
The Occidental men’s basketball team split its pair of conference match-ups. In a 86-78 loss to Chapman last Wednesday, slasher Kris Montoya (senior) registered a team-high 22 points, while Juwan Rice (junior) added 18 to help pace the black and orange offensively. However, they were bested by the Panthers, who out-shot the Tigers by 7.7 percent from the field and pulled down 12 more rebounds. Despite the hard-fought loss, Occidental bounced back on Saturday’s senior night with a triple-overtime victory over Whittier, 88-83. Senior Ty Cobb — one of three players along with Montoya and Sam Van Buren who will graduate this spring — was a force on both ends of the floor, recording a double-double with 26 points and 17 rebounds to go along with four blocks. Younger players came up big for the Tigers as well, signifying the passing of the torch for future squads. First-year guard Jay Miller stepped up in the second half, dropping 12 of his 14 points in the period, including a game-tying runner in the lane with two seconds remaining in regulation. Sophomore Chad Tanioka sealed the deal for the unit, knocking down a three-pointer with two minutes left on the clock in the final overtime and giving Occidental the lead for the final time at 86-83. The Tigers travel to Pomona-Pitzer Saturday at 5 p.m.
Women’s Basketball (12-12 overall, 6-9 SCIAC)
The Occidental women’s basketball team played two conference home games last week, dropping its first against Chapman Thursday and taking a decisive eight-point win over Whittier Saturday. The Tigers saw their playoffs hopes dashed as they committed 19 turnovers against the Panthers and were unable to break through Chapman’s stifling defense in a 71-62 loss. However, guard Ashton Reid (junior) tallied 15 points in the contest. The team then honored its six graduating seniors — Crystal Goodwin, Alyssa Mort, Brittni Walker, Kristen Treat, Elizabeth Messick and Michelle Naito-Lo — with a 66-58 victory over the Poets in their final game inside Rush Gymnasium. Reid again catalyzed the black and orange offense, setting the pace up and down the floor and coming away with a team-high 20 points on 42 percent shooting from the field. Messick posted her signature double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Walker also reached double figures with 11 points. The Tigers travel to Pomona-Pitzer Saturday at 7 p.m. for their season finale.
Tommy Edwards win appeal, gains additional year of eligibility
In a game against Redlands on Oct. 5, Occidental quarterback Tommy Edwards (senior) rolled out and connected with wide receiver Cordell Harris (first-year) for a touchdown. But while trying to avoid a sack, he took a hit that resulted in a broken arm, prematurely ending his season and presumably college career. Because it was sustained in only the team’s third game, the NCAA determined the injury occurred early enough in the season and was serious enough to grant Edwards a medical redshirt.
“[Athletic Director] Jamie Hoffman, [Head Trainer] Joe Gonzalez, Coach [Doug] Semones and my surgeon Dr. [Gregory] Adamson all played instrumental roles in helping me,” Edwards said.
Both Edwards and Semones expressed excitement over the quarterback’s return.
“It’s tough to have your season and career end in just the third game of the season,” Semones said. “Tommy wanted to come back and finish things differently. He and Bryan Scott (first-year) give us talent and experience at the quarterback position.”
With multiple starters returning, Edwards believes that the team has chance to compete for the SCIAC Championship and has already begun preparing for the upcoming season.
The Tigers (5-4 overall, 4-3 SCIAC in 2013) open training camp in August.
Geneva Perez (Women’s Water Polo Goalkeeper No. 1)
Senior goalkeeper Geneva Perez has anchored the Occidental women’s water polo team (1-3 overall, 0-0 SCIAC) through the preliminary part of its season. Stepping into large shoes left behind by All-SCIAC goalie Raiye Adeleye ’13, Perez has risen to the challenge. Highlighting her season so far is a performance in which she tallied seven saves in the Tigers’ lone win of the campaign thus far against Cal State San Bernardino on Feb. 8. She also recorded fives saves in each of Occidental’s contests against Whittier and Azusa Pacific. Although the talented senior has been a constant defensive force when guarding the net, the black and orange continue to run a two-keeper system, allowing fellow senior goalkeeper Sofie Munoz to get in on the action. This rotation allows for each goalkeeper to get rest during weekends in which the squad is scheduled to play a doubleheader. The Tigers will lean on these two seniors to continue to make an impact on defense to complement their offensive attack. Occidental travels to the CalLufornia Invitational on Mar. 1-2, opening up against Long Beach State at 11:45 a.m. on the first day of the event.