Author: Taylor-Anne Esparza
The women of Occidental’s lacrosse team are easing into the season with one win and two losses. After last year’s successful 13-4 season, the team returned its entire roster and gained eleven more players. With this large addition to the previously triumphant team, women’s lacrosse hopes to continue to build upon their growing legacy in just its fourth year of varsity play.
Not only did the returning players enter camp ready to play, but the incoming first-years showed up with their A-game as well. In their first game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), Tori Larson (junior) scored six goals, Beebe Finch-Sanders (sophomore) scored two and Isabel Osgood-Roach (senior) and Haley Gandsey (senior) scored one apiece. First-year goaltender Kirsten Hee also proved herself in her debut game with eight saves in the second half though the Athenas edged out the Tigers 11-10.
Hee is thankful to the team for their welcoming attitudes and support. “Being a large freshmen class on a team where everyone is returning, we didn’t expect a lot,” she said. “It was exciting to see upperclassmen be supportive of freshmen getting playing time. They made us feel like we’re not just an add-on to the team, but we’re a part of it.”
Hee has adapted quickly to the college game, already recording 20 saves on the young season.
The team continued to prove it has what it takes to be successful with its 20-3 win against Whittier College in its home opener last Wednesday. High scorers of the night were Osgood-Roach and Larson with five goals each and Mackenzie Wright (first-year) with three.
Senior Charlotte Bromley has high hopes for the team in her last year of playing lacrosse for Occidental. “We look really solid since we didn’t lose any players,” she said. “Everyone came back in shape and excited to play.”
The incomers and returners already seem to be bonding and finding a rhythm within the team that will help them communicate on the field. Larson discussed the unity that has already begun to develop within the team. “I am confident in our whole team,” she said. “The freshmen have learned a lot and caught up really quickly. We are all basically on the same page now.”
Larson showcased her abilities last season with 59 points and 57 goals on the campaign. With only three games played in the current season, she has already proved her consistency with 15 goals thus far.
The entire team, as well as the coaches, were very welcoming to the 11 new women. Assistant Coach Samantha Schrum is excited about the possibilities the new players bring to the team. “They have added a lot of quality to the team,” she said. “They came from all over the country so they all bring different skills. They really help push the returners and bring a lot more depth to the team.”
Not only do they support one another, but they have confidence in themselves and each other as a team. First-year Mary Richardson speaks to the fighting spirit within the team. “After their successful season last year, the old players have a fire within them,” she said. “We want to continue doing these big things.”
Richardson, who earned a starting position in her first year playing at Occidental, scored two goals in the team’s most recent game against Pomona-Pitzer, a hard-fought 15-12 loss.
However, both Bromley and Larson believe the team as a whole can do some improving. While the team is mentally strong, they can still gain power on the field.
“We really need to work on our mid-field transitions and defense,” Bromley said. “We can work on our team depth and playing everyone’s strengths.”
Schrum also shares the desire for another year of Tiger success. She wants everyone to see the true potential of their team. “I don’t want the team to have too many expectations, since we’re still a very new program,” she said. “But I want to show the country that we have what it takes to be a consistent program with quality lacrosse players, not a one-hit wonder.”
The team returns to Jack Kemp Stadium to play against Redlands today at 7 p.m.
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