The Occidental women’s water polo team (5-17 overall, 3-3 SCIAC) has started to find its stroke in the pool with just two games remaining in the regular season. The Tigers have doubled their win total over a two-week period, tallying their first back-to-back victories of the season with dominant performances over Chapman and La Verne last week.
The squad bounced back from a close 15-11 home loss to Whittier on April 5 with a thrilling win over Chapman last Wednesday. The Tigers jumped out to a 3-1 lead by the closing seconds of the first quarter, utilizing three different black and orange attackers to find the back of the net. Occidental scored two more goals to take a commanding 5-1 lead in the third quarter, but a Panther goal with 2:44 minutes left in the period sparked a late comeback.
Sophomore utility player Lizzy Kosin (sophomore) scored the Tigers’ lone goal of the fourth quarter, but that was all the stout Occidental defense needed as they managed to keep the Panthers off the board in the final minute of the contest. The unit outlasted the late Chapman surge to capture a 7-6 victory.
According to Kosin, the squad’s late-season resurgence stems from the growth and development that has resulted from three early SCIAC losses.
“It’s always hard to lose a conference game,” Kosin said. “I think we were able to reevaluate our goals for the season and focus a little more on ourselves and the confidence in our ability as a team.”
The Tigers were able to harness some of the defensive prowess that they displayed in the Chapman match-up later in the week, holding La Verne to just six goals on Saturday.
Occidental had an offensive outburst in the opening quarter of the match, quickly taking a 4-1 lead after three consecutive goals from utility player Katya Soot (senior). The Tigers refused to let up offensively as Kosin, utility player Carly Zurcher (first-year) and center Lindsay Albino (senior) also registered multiple goals. The black and orange claimed its most decisive victory on the campaign, dismantling La Verne 12-6.
“There were a few things that we could have done a bit better, but for the most part I thought it was a pretty balanced game,” Occidental head coach Larry Zubrin said. “We got the offense going and put some points on the board, which also helped take some pressure off defensively.”
Despite recent success, the veteran-heavy team is not overlooking its two conference matches that remain before it heads into the SCIAC Championships.
“We are trying to take it one game at a time and not look past any team,” Albino said. “Right now, we just want to play the best we can play and not think about the SCIAC Championship until we get there.”
The program will honor its seven graduating players tonight at Taylor Pool, taking on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) at 5 p.m. for Senior Day.