Claremont, CA (October 29, 2012) – It was a terrific week to be a Sagehen fan, with huge wins, clutch performances, remarkable efforts and unlikely heroes making for all sorts of interesting storylines, highlighted by the Men’s Soccer team closing the regular season by winning the 2012 SCIAC championship. This week, the team will begin SCIAC tournament play for a bid to the NCAA playoffs.
Monday got the week off to a roaring start, as Men’s Soccer traveled to Redlands in a battle of the top two teams in the SCIAC. The Sagehens entered the game with an eight-game winning streak, while Redlands came in with seven wins in a row. The winner of the game would take over sole possession of first place and have the inside track for the SCIAC Championship. The Sagehens brought their “A” game and controlled much of the possession throughout, but the score was still 0-0 into the 70th minute. That was when co-captain Erik Munzer ’13 used his trademark long throw-in to set up the game-winning goal from Ryan Miller (PO ’14) as the Sagehens earned a huge 1-0 win.
That win set the table for a big Wednesday for the athletic department. Or perhaps it should be called “Winsday” as Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer and Men’s Water Polo all picked up huge wins in simultaneous matches that began at 4 p.m. Men’s Soccer clinched the 2012 SCIAC championship with a 1-0 win on the road at Caltech, as Munzer and Andrew Lind ’14 led a defense to its third shutout in a row. The Sagehens then stretched their winning streak to 11 games (the longest since the 1973 team won 14 in a row) with another shutout in a 4-0 win over La Verne on Saturday, and will host Whittier on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in one of two SCIAC semifinals. A win against Whittier would enable the Sagehens to host the finals on Saturday at 11 a.m. for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Men’s Water Polo, meanwhile, hosted a big showdown of its own on Wednesday against Whittier, as the last two teams left unbeaten in the SCIAC met at Haldeman Pool. After the teams went into halftime tied 3-3, the Sagehens exploded for six unanswered goals in the second half to take a 9-3 lead. Whittier cut the lead down to 9-7 with four goals in the final minute, but could come no closer. Jason Cox ’13 had two goals and Stephen Vint ’15 added a key one in the second half to make the score 5-3. Men’s Water Polo closes out the regular season this week with home matches against Air Force on Friday, and CMS on Saturday, which could be a battle for the top seed in the SCIAC Championships.
The third big win on Wednesday came from Women’s Soccer, which faced Redlands at home, needing a win to keep its postseason hopes alive (a loss or tie would eliminate the Sagehens and give Redlands the final bid). The game remained deadlocked 0-0 until late in regulation, when Natalie Barbaresi (PO ’16) stepped up with the perfect time for first collegiate goal in the 83rd minute to give the Sagehens a dramatic 1-0 win. Samantha Thompson ’15 set up the goal when she got her head on a free kick to knock the ball away from the Redlands goalie, and Barbaresi was in the right place to put it in. Women’s Soccer then punched their playoff ticket with a 1-0 win at La Verne on Saturday, and will open the SCIAC playoffs at top-seeded Cal Lutheran on Wednesday.
Men’s Cross Country and Women’s Cross Country competed at the SCIAC Championships, and were led by Pitzer runners in both genders. On the men’s side, the Sagehens finished a very close second to heavy favorite Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, falling by just six points (33-39), led by Alex Johnson ’13, who came in second place, just two seconds away from the individual championship. The Women’s Cross Country team, meanwhile, finished as Camille Matonis ’15 was the top Sagehen in 15th place.