Occidental Buries Gophers to Keep Streak Alive

LOS ANGELES - Occidental knows how to ride a hot streak. Going into its non-conference game with Goucher (Md.) on Wednesday, the Tigers had won a school-record six consecutive games dating back to their season opener on Feb. 15.

So when they trailed 6-2 a little more than midway through the first period against the Gophers, they didn't panic.

"At 6-2, it was a moment in a game that we have talked about and prepared for," Occidental College coach Michele Uhlfelder said. "The opportunity was there and they needed to do what we knew we could do to dig ourselves out."

The Tigers cut the lead to 6-5 by halftime, then won the first six draws and scored the first five goals of the second half to overcome the four-goal deficit and beat Goucher 13-10 at Jack Kemp Stadium.

Oxy scored eight unanswered goals during a stretch that lasted nearly 34 game minutes - from 12:04 on the clock in the first to 8:53 left in the second - to take the lead and win its seventh game in a row.

"I don't think there was a moment of hesitation," Uhlfelder said. "They just knew it was go-time."

Rebecca Belding (Burlingame) scored four goals, her season high, to lead the Tigers, with two coming during Oxy's run.

Belding, a sophomore, hooked up with Lauren Wemple (Needham, Mass.) three times for scores.

Wemple finished with four assists.

It almost sounds like a broken record, but the records just keep flying out of window during the third-year Oxy women's lacrosse program's best season.

Oxy has now surpassed its 2011 overall win total in just eight games. The Tigers, now at 7-1, were 6-13 at the end of the season last year.

And what a difference a year makes. On March 18 last season, Oxy got trounced by Goucher 19-8 at Jack Kemp Stadium.

Tori Larson scored three goals, and Isabel Osgood-Roach (Portland, Ore.), Haley Gandsey (Oakland), and Sarah Kessler (Portland, Ore.) each had two for the Tigers.

But everyone found ways to contribute. Beebe Finch-Sanders (Berkeley) had nine draw controls, Charlotte Bromley (Watertown, Conn.) snatched up four ground balls and the Oxy bench was positive throughout.

"The defense had great energy, the middies and offensive energy turned a corner. ... The bench was really contagious with their energy," Uhlfelder said. "Everyone made contribution today."

Oxy continues a stretch of games hosting teams from out of California. The Tigers, which have already played Fort Lewis (Colorado), Puget Sound (Washington) and Goucher (Maryland), will face North Central (Illinois) on March 20 and Allegheny (Pennsylvania) on March 22.

2012-03-15



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