CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's lacrosse team was temporarily in a tight battle in the 2019 SCIAC Championship, leading just 4-3 with 13 minutes left in the half, but the Athenas scored the last 11 goals unanswered to pull away and capture a 15-3 win over Pomona-Pitzer to earn their third SCIAC Tournament title in a row on Saturday afternoon at Zinda Field.
With the win, CMS improves to 16-2 and will await word of a potential bid to the NCAA Division III Championship when the selections are announced tomorrow. The Athenas have gone 10-0 in SCIAC play in each of the last three regular seasons and won all six SCIAC Tournament games as well. Pomona-Pitzer slips to 13-6 with the loss.
Junior attack Sally Abel had a hat trick to lead the way for CMS offensively, while five other players had two goals apiece. Freshman midfielder Alex Futterman had two goals and two assists, senior attack Corie attack, freshman attack Tessa Guerra, and sophomore attack Julia Mueller each had two goals and an assist, while sophomore attack Eloise Shields had two goals.
Sophomore Anna Gillespie had seven saves and allowed only three goals to get the win, while junior Kira Weiss had four caused turnovers and junior defender Zoe Ryan, named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player, added three caused turnovers and scored a goal.
Pomona-Pitzer scored the game's first goal (from Kiera Havill) and it took a while for CMS to get on the board, but Abel scored two straight goals, both off assists from Futterman at the 23:36 and 22:07 marks, to give the Athenas the 2-1 lead. Ryan scored with 19:40 left off a feed from junior Allie Hill, and Hack scored to make it a 4-1 CMS with 17:26 to go.
The Sagehens scored two straight to make it a 4-3 game, with Lilly Thomey scoring the third when she swept a ground ball into the net in the middle of a scrum with 13 minutes left. However, Hack converted 45 seconds later, and then found Guerra on the weak side with a pretty pass to the far post to make it a 6-3 lead. Abel finished off her hat trick with 23 seconds left in the half to give CMS a 7-3 advantage heading into the break, her 50th goal of the season.
WLAX: CMS gets a little separation and leads PP 7-3 at the half in the SCIAC finals. Here's Goal No. 6 - a pretty feed from Hack to Guerra at the far post. Abel with 3 goals to lead the way. pic.twitter.com/Ck4a1AAyCm— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) May 4, 2019
The momentum then carried over as CMS scored three times in the first 3:30 of the second half to break it wide open. Mueller found Guerra with a feed at the 28:51 mark, and then 30 seconds later, the same combination converted in reverse with Guerra passing to Mueller. Futterman then scored with 26:30 to go on the second assist from junior Emily Cohen, and Mueller pushed the lead to 11-3 with 22:26 left when she made a cut in front and a pass from Hill skimmed off the top of her head and went into the net.
Futterman scored her second, and Shields scored back-to-back goals to make it a 14-3 lead, before sophomore Taylor Geary finished off the scoring on the second assist from junior Emma Johnson.
WLAX: There's the 3-peat! CMS defeats PP 15-3 for third straight SCIAC title. On to NCAAs! pic.twitter.com/D1bFKKB1FH— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) May 4, 2019
CMS hopes to make its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance after capturing its third straight lopsided championship game win. The last two years have seen the Athenas drop their opening NCAA contest to Colorado College, while this year's potential first opponent will be revealed when selections are announced on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m.