Monday, Oct. 9, the Whittier College Women’s Soccer Team gave it their all in a close, head-to-head game against California Institute of Technology (Caltech) at Whittier College’s very own Memorial Stadium. The team was able to pull out a win, proving the Beavers are no match for the Whittier College Poets, who rose 2-6 in the overall Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standing.
Despite going into the game without time for practice between Saturday’s game against Occidental and Monday’s game against Caltech, the Poets showed no hestitation toward the Beavers. “I felt loose and ready to take on the opposition,” said third-year forward Aubrey Baran. “A chance to take on a team we have never played before was exciting and a challenge I was looking forward to.”
“[I] felt confident, like we were gonna get the win,” said second-year midfielder Clarissa Field. “We were prepared to play in this game and play against our opponent.”
“We had to draw our strength from the practices of the previous week in which we focused on technique,” said second-year defense Emily Montgomery. “We felt nervous, but took it as an opportunity to better ourselves.”
The Women’s Soccer Team had their hands tied as they started out their game against Caltech. The Beaver’s defense came out strong, deflecting the ten shots taken by the Poets in the first half of the game. Whittier College’s first-year forward Jazmin Gomez had her sights on a goal as she weaved past Caltech defense, but was unable to shoot past the opposing team’s goalie Kali Drango. By the time the first half came to an end, both the Poets and the Beavers were unable to steal a goal, leaving the score 0-0.
“A game on a Monday was new to us, but we came in confident and hyped to play,” said Baran. “We had to take the first half to calm down and get used to the style and speed of play, but by the second half we were able to settle in and play Whittier Soccer and start creating more opportunities for ourselves.”
As the second half of the game rolled in, the Poets’ luck finally seemed to turn. After being switched to midfield, third-year Lyla Matar found the perfect opportunity to take a shot 40 seconds into the second half. The shot barely made it under the crossbar, just out of the reach of the goalie, giving the Poets a lead of 1-0. Gomez returned to take four shots that were once again blocked by Caltech’s Drango.
“We were struggling at first with communicating with each other, but I think we ultimately pulled through,” said Montgomery. “I think we may have underestimated Caltech’s ability because they’re a new team.”
Not long after that, the Beavers started to push toward a goal. In the 62nd minute of the game Caltech scored, tying Whittier 1-1. As the game came to an end, Gomez scored the winning goal, finalizing the score 2-1.
“Our energy was low at the start of the game, but as we adjusted to the speed of play and tempo of the game our chemistry improved and our energy picked up significantly in order to push us to get a win.” said Baran.
The Poets have lost the past five games, so taking this win against the Beavers opens up a window of opportunity for the team. “We were glad to have won Monday’s game after a losing streak,” said Montgomery. “The win has put us in a good position to have confidence in ourselves going into tonight’s game against [the University of] Redlands.”
“Regardless of the outcome of this game, I know that our team can achieve further success this season,” said Baran. “This team consists of 24 hardworking, dedicated teammates and an incredible coaching staff and fanbase. We can achieve anything that we put our minds to.”
The Whittier College Women’s Soccer Team’s next home game will be on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:00 p.m. as they take on the La Verne Leopards.