Athenas complete undefeated SCIAC season with 18-9 victory over Chapman

Photo by Emily Nordhoff
Photo by Emily Nordhoff

CLAREMONT, Calif. – Saturday night turned out nothing short of spectacular for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's lacrosse team as the Athenas (16-1, 10-0) completed a dominant run in the SCIAC regular season and tournament undefeated after an 18-9 win over Chapman University (11-7, 7-3).

"I think we've had to remind ourselves this season that we're capable of doing it even though we never made it this far during the four years I was here," said Senior captain Cara Cancelmo (CMC). "I'm just so excited to see how far we have grown from my freshman year to my senior year."

Sophomore Corie Hack (CMC) served as the catalyst to the CMS offense, finishing her night with four goals and an assist. Junior Katie Hill (CMC) had a superb game in the defensive end and midfield, winning loose balls and disrupting the Panthers' offense, while her sister, freshman Allie Hill (CMC), did a bit of everything on offense and defense. The Athenas outworked the Panthers on ground balls 22 to 6 and outshot them 32 to 16.  

The Athenas came out of the gates aggressive as Allie Hill won the very first draw. Cohen scored CMS' first goal in the third minute of the game. She would go on to score five goals in the game. Chapman answered a few minutes later with a goal by Stacey Zuppa to tie up the game, but the Athenas quickly regained the lead with another goal by Allie Hill, assisted by freshman Emma Johnson (SC) with 22 minutes left in the half.

Chapman had an opportunity with a free position shot at the 19-minute mark, but Cancelmo crashed into the crease to prevent the Panther goal. The Panthers continued to put pressure on the Athenas' defense and gained some rhythm after a few consecutive clean passes. Becka Wachtel found the net in the next minute and tied up the game again, 2-2 with just over 18 minutes remaining.

Hack faced significant pressure from the Panthers' defense and was challenged with two fouls in a row. While unable to immediately convert, she kept driving in and scored at 14:44 left in the half. Two minutes later, Hack lined a quick pass from behind the net to the cutting Cancelmo in the 8-yard mark and the captain fired into the right side of the net before anyone could react to put CMS ahead 4-2.

With 4:02 remaining in the half, junior Evan Murphy (CMC) caught the Panthers' goalie off-guard after receiving a cross pass from junior Lauren Clubb (CMC) by simply dropping the ball off her stick and into the net to give CMS a 6-3 lead. The Athenas finished the half with a 7-4 lead.

"We've generally started off slow in all of our games," said Cancelmo. "During the game we just realized what we were doing wrong and communicated with one another and kept each other accountable as we got back in it."  

Senior Zoe Pinczower (CMC) and freshman Luisa Valles (CMC) played a tenacious midfield and forced timely turnovers all game and helped carry the momentum into the second half. After a beautiful combination from Hack to Cancelmo to Cohen to open up the scoring during the second half, Pinczower intercepted a pass at midfield and dished it to Clubb to put CMS ahead 9-4. After a going back and forth, the Athenas managed to pull away with 16:33 left in the game when Cohen sparked a 3-0 run after a free-position goal. Later with 3:30 remaining in the game, Katie Hill received a long pass while racing to the offensive half of the field and scored a breakaway goal on the open net to put CMS up 17-8.

The Athenas will await their postseason fate during the NCAA Selection Show tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. The selection show can be accessed via live stream on the NCAA's website.

NCAA Selection Show

Box Score

By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant

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