Liam Walsh (sophomore) found the net twice against California Lutheran on September 17. After picking up second team All-SCIAC honors while playing at right-back, Walsh finally got his chance to start in the Occidental midfield this season. When asked about the team’s energy and the support from Tigers supporters, Walsh had nothing but praise.
“On the field, the atmosphere was amazing,” Walsh said. “The noise certainly helps our team … I think we thrive off that positive energy, and if we continue to use that to our advantage then I don’t think we can be stopped.”
The Tigers look to build on their win against the Regals when they host the defending conference champion Redlands Bulldogs at Jack Kemp Stadium September 20.
Tiareh Cruz (senior) picked up All-Tournament honors for the second straight week when the Tigers competed in the Colorado College Invitational. The Tigers faced nationally ranked opposition in the form of tournament hosts Colorado College. The Prowlers sit at the fifth spot in the NCAA Division III rankings, and posed a tough test for Cruz and the Tigers.
The senior from New York is 4th in the SCIAC in assists per set, averaging 8.53 so far this season. Cruz attributed her impressive start to the season to her chemistry with the team around her. The 5’4″ setter also pointed to some of the intrinsic drivers that have guided her tremendous work ethic in the offseason.
“I just feel really comfortable with everybody on the court and I think that’s led to my overall success, I’m confident in the players around me.” Cruz said. “I’m obviously pretty undersized in terms of other front row players, so this summer I worked every day on getting my vertical up just thinking about how I want to be stuffing girls.”
Her hard work appears to be paying off. Not only has Cruz more than doubled her assists per set (up from 4.09 last season), she also holds the composite physical fitness record for all current varsity athletes at Occidental.
Whether its squaring off against the front row or setting up assists, Cruz is poised to continue her breakout season as the Tigers take on the La Verne Leopards at Rush Gymnasium September 24.