Author: Alex Nieves
The first semester of the school year is coming to an end, but for many of the club teams on the campus of Occidental College, play is just heating up as they prepare for competition in the spring. While these club teams may not get as much attention as the varsity programs, the athletes on them are ready to show what club athletics is all about.
The Occidental men’s lacrosse team, which competes at the NCAA Division II club level, is one the the competitive club teams that is ready to make a name for itself. The team is looking to build upon a strong second place 8-3 performance last season and cement themselves as one of the powers in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Western Division.
It is clear that the team is confident in their play and is ready to take another step forward by winning their first division title. This message was echoed by goalkeeper and co-team captain Thomas Kelly.
“I feel that if we work on our defense we could win our division,” Kelly said. “We have the offense to do so, it’s just a matter [of] if we can stop the other teams from scoring.”
If the lacrosse team manages to win their conference, it would be another huge step for a program that only won one game in 2010. The team opens up conference play against Cal Lutheran on Feb. 25.
Another club program that is looking to continue their winning ways is the men’s rugby team. The squad, which finished 9-1 in league play last year, has been as far as the National Small College Rugby Organization championship game.
The team is off to a quick start this year, winning their division in the preseason friendly Long Beach Tournament and their first friendly match against Cal State Northridge. In their last match up on Nov. 30, the Tigers outplayed Loyola Marymount, winning 35-7. The team continues preseason play through January with their first league match on Jan. 26.
The women’s rugby squad has not been as successful as the men’s side over the last few years, but the team is ready to make a name for itself. The amount of time commitment necessary to play a team sport is very high, but co-captain Lily Berrin stressed the fact that the team keeps practices fun and less of an obligation than a varsity sport.
“We try to mainly have a really fun atmosphere at practice,” said Berrin. “It’s intense because we wan to win and we’re all driven, but we’re all friends hanging out with each other.”
Although the team tries to keep a relaxed environment at practice, they are ready to compete and win when it comes to games. The squad has high goals for the season and is trying for their second winning season in a row.
The Quidditch team is one of the newer clubs on campus and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular. The team is entering their third year of play and combines elements of Harry Potter fandom with friendly athletic competition. Turn out for the club has increased greatly last year and co-captain Grace Bender is very excited about the future of the club.
“It has been incredible,” said Bender when asked about club attendance. “We have consistently doubled attendees for practices.”
All of the club programs are excited about their chances for success in the upcoming spring seasons and are ready to compete as hard as the varsity programs to win games.
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