Author: Owen Hill
Occidental women’s soccer’s (7-7-3 overall; 6-5-3 SCIAC) two seniors, defender Kelsey Hung and midfielder Michaela Tsuha, helped lead the Tigers to a 2-0 victory over Redlands in their final collegiate game. The win capped off the season sweep against the Bulldogs but was not enough to earn the Tigers a spot in the four-team SCIAC playoff tournament.
Prior to the game, Tsuha and Hung said they were focused on getting the three points against Redlands necessary to claim the playoff spot, rather than the senior night ceremony.
Coming from rival schools in Hawaii, Tsuha and Hung showed great commitment to the program during their four years at Occidental.
“You really have to love the sport,” Tsuha said. “Part of it is also about being part of a team with great teammates and coaches, and we’ve definitely had that here.”
Hung echoed Tsuha’s sentiment, adding that being part of the team provided a reprieve from the normal stresses of being a college student.
“There were obviously some tough days, but for the most part it was a really good outlet and a great experience,” Hung said. “We also wanted to get rid of those feelings of intimidation and separation. We wanted everyone to be on the same page so it was more of a bonding experience than anything.”
Earlier in the year, head coach Colm McFeely talked about the constant reshuffling of the back four. But through all of the changes and adjustments, Hung remained a stalwart on that defensive line during her time on the team.
Her reliability went beyond just suiting up, however — Hung accrued just one yellow card during her four-year stint. In her final game as a center-back, Hung was right there once again leading the back line to a clean sheet against the first place Bulldogs.
“They have really been leaders since day one [of their first year] in the way that they carried themselves,” McFeely said. “The way they have grown as individuals and as players set the example for current players and those coming into the program. The wins and losses come and go, but what remains are the relationships and friendships they made. To me, that’s the most important thing — seeing how they’ve grown as individuals in addition to how they’ve played on the field.”
Tsuha was also able to leave a mark on the last game of her career when she finished a through ball from Nicole Castro (first-year) in the 89th minute. The goal — her fifth of the season — brought her career total to 11. Tsuha also ended her career with 17 assists, five of which came this season.
“You could see it in her eyes what that goal meant to her,” McFeely said. “She’s usually on the supplying end of the goals, and to see her get one of her own in her last game is definitely special [for her].”
Unfortunately, the Tigers came up just a bit short and were not able to reach the playoffs in Tsuha and Hung’s final season. But the two of them provided the leadership the young Tigers needed to develop as a unit and helped set the tone for future seasons.
“They definitely left behind a legacy just in the way they carried themselves,” McFeely said. “They raised the standard for both the current players and the incoming players.”
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