Women’s lacrosse loses in double digits to No. 1 team, snaps winning streak

Junior midfielder Stacey Zuppa runs toward the goal against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on April 19. The Panthers were defeated 20-1. Photo by Kaitlin Homan.

The women’s lacrosse team lost 20-1 against first-place Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and ended its winning streak at home April 19.

Before Wednesday’s game, the second-place Panthers were coming off five straight double-digit wins, and beating Claremont-Mudd-Scripps would have made them tied for first in the conference.

“It hurt, and now we have to piece together everything and bounce back,” said freshman defender Mika Henrickson.

Junior midfielder Becka Wachtel catches the ball from sophomore midfielder Danielle Zahn. Wachtel scored the Panthers’ only goal. The Panthers were defeated 20-1. Photo by Kaitlin Homan.

The Athenas are currently undefeated in conference play and have clinched the top seed for Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) playoffs. The Panthers have sealed the No. 2 seed, having lost both of their regular season games against the Athenas.

“We only have one more league game and then playoffs,” said freshman defender Ally Kroeckel said. “We can see the finish line and that’s our motivation to give it all we have before the season is over.”

Similarly, in the 2016 season, the Panthers lost both regular conference games to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The second game knocked the Panthers into second place after being tied for first with only three games left in the season. The Panthers went on to beat the Athenas in the conference semifinals and advance to the finals for the second time in school history.

“If anything, this loss is going to motivate us to work harder in the future for when we see Claremont again,” Kroeckel said.

The Athenas shut out Panther offense well into the second half. Junior midfielder Becka Wachtel scored the only goal of the night for the Panthers with just five minutes left in the game.

“We knew that Claremont would be our hardest competition,” Henrickson said. “Our stick fundamentals were off, meaning catching, but the looks were there, and we just needed to execute on ground balls which we fell short of. We also had little possession off the draw.”

The Athenas had 13 draw controls and caused 15 turnovers, giving themselves a 19-0 lead before the Panthers’ goal.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ senior midfielder Zoe Pinczower led the Athenas’ offense with five goals.

The Panthers will finish their regular season play on the road against Whittier College on Saturday, April 22. They will begin playoffs and host the SCIAC Tournament semifinals on April 29 against the third-seeded team, which is yet to be determined.

“For playoffs, we will focus more on the basics and playing the game we have been playing since the start of the season,” Kroeckel said. “We know how to control the pace and lift each other up so that’s what we are going to continue to do.”

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