Author: Owen Hill
The Occidental women’s soccer team (2-4-0 overall, 1-1-0 SCIAC) picked up its first win in SCIAC play by defeating Chapman University 4-1 at home. Midfielders Kylie Takafuji (junior), Alana Hillman (sophomore), Michaela Tsuha (senior) and forward Camille Shrager (sophomore) each scored in a game controlled by the Tigers right from the start.
In the first half, Takafuji and Hillman both scored goals from distance, giving the Tigers a two goal advantage at the break. Though they conceded a goal in the second half, the team maintained solid defensive play and only committed a handful of mistakes while Tsuha and Shrager each added a goal to put the game out of reach. Following what head coach Colm McFeely described as a disappointing 2-1 loss at La Verne last Wednesday, the Tigers showed their ability to stay organized at the back and attack well.
Shrager also recognized the excellent play of the defenders.
“The defensive line was super solid … we have a relatively new back four who have worked very hard in practice, and I think it showed,” Shrager said via email.
Though forward Julie Khil (junior) could not add to her tally of three goals on the season, she recorded two assists. With consistent pressure and a number of tackles in the Tigers attacking third of the pitch, Khil made sure Chapman felt her presence.
Through the first half, the Tigers were resilient on defense and moved the ball well as a team.
“I think this game set a standard for the team going forward,” McFeely said. “The team really showed what they can do, and today’s game was a better representation of the team’s potential. We came out flat against La Verne and conceded a bad goal early, but the team really controlled their nerves today.”
Though the Tigers are a young team, Tsuha believes that they can go far.
“We knew we had to start this game strong, and we played with a lot of energy from the first whistle,” Tsuha said via email. “I think the key for us this season will be to maintain our mental focus. We are a young squad, but there is a lot of potential and chemistry in the team.”
While Tsuha only scored one goal, she had a number of chances to score late in the game. When asked about her performance, Tsuha applauded the team’s play as opposed to her own.
Last season, Occidental beat every SCIAC team except for California Lutheran at least once. The belief that they can challenge for a top four spot again this year is what McFeely and his players said will drive the team.
“The team has really bonded from day one,” Shrager said via email. “If we play the way we played [against Chapman], we can beat any team in the league.”
The Tigers will look to build on their win and achieve a similar result when they host California Lutheran University Sept. 23.
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