CLAREMONT, CA. – The No. 8 Pomona-Pitzer Women's Soccer team breezed through the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Semifinals with a 5-0 win over Occidental on Thursday afternoon at the Pomona-Pitzer Soccer Field.
Season Impact: with the win, the Sagehens improve to 16-1-1 overall and advanced to the SCIAC Tournament Championship where they await the winner of Chapman and Cal Lutheran. The Sagehens have won the SCIAC Regular Season title three out of the last four seasons but have not captured the SCIAC Tournament Championship since 2015, which was the first and only SCIAC Tournament Championship in program history.
The Sagehens had five different goal scorers in the game as senior Bria VarnBuhler, sophomore Ciannah Correa, sophomore Anna Ponzio, first-year Hannah Mandell and sophomore Maya Nitschke-Alonso all found the back of the net in the win. Senior goalkeeper Isa Berardo earned another win and tallied four saves and combined for the Sagehens' 15th shutout of the season with teammate sophomore Lindsey Uteda who stopped two shots as well.
Pomona-Pitzer got its offense going in a hurry as they notched two goals within the first 10 minutes of play to open up the SCIAC Semifinals. VarnBuhler started the scoring in the fifth minute as she lived up to her SCIAC Player of the Year title with an opening goal after she dribbled around defenders to the middle of the box and beat the keeper with a low shot to give the Sagehens a 1-0 lead.
The Sagehens struck again just four minutes later as Correa turned from the left corner of the box and placed in a perfect curling shot towards the upper 90 of the goal and beat the keeper to extend the lead to 2-0.
Pomona-Pitzer picked up back where they left off as they struck again early in the second half. Mandell got ahold of the ball down the right wing and lifted a cross over the keeper's head that found the feet of Ponzio who took a touch and blasted a shot into the net to push the lead to 3-0 at the 49th minute mark.
Mandell followed up her assist with a goal in the 54th minute after senior Megan Kuo passed the ball into the box for Mandell who took a touch and beat the keeper high to extend the lead to four as Occidental's hopes of a potential comeback began to fade away.
The Sagehens put an exclamation point on the game in the 90th minute as Nitschke-Alonso capped off the semifinals with a breakaway goal for her first goal of the season as the Sagehens took care of the Tigers and marched on to the SCIAC Tournament Final.
Up Next: The Sagehens will await the winner of Cal Lutheran and Chapman for the SCIAC Tournament Final on Saturday, November 9th at 12:00 p.m. at the Pomona-Pitzer Soccer Field.