AMHERST, Mass. – Despite playing its third game in three days and facing windy conditions, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's lacrosse team grinded through a narrow 5-4 victory over No. 15 Amherst (2-2) on Friday afternoon to conclude its East Coast trip. The Athenas brought out their "A" game on the defensive end, bothering the Purple & White with their physicality and constant pressure while junior Teresa Despres (HMC) had to play the game of her life, collecting 10 saves. Although the Athenas out-fouled Amherst 30-14, their rough style of play paid off as they slowed the game down and forced the Purple & White to work for their points.
"Being our third game in a row, the entire team played with so much heart and intensity," said Head Coach Lauren Uhr. "Our defense really stepped up and held them to a low scoring game, and allowed our offense to make the most of their possessions."
Freshman Emily Cohen (CMC) earned a hat-trick in this tight contest while junior Lauren Clubb (CMC) recorded two assists. Senior Cara Cancelmo (CMC) played a vital role in the possession game, guiding the Athenas to 17 successful clear attempts out of 19, while freshman Juliana Clark (CMC) led the team with four ground balls.
CMS got off to a rough start, struggling to keep possession early in the game and not getting a shot off until seven minutes into the game. Amherst struck first more than three minutes into the half when Sabrina Solow saw an opening through the defense and took advantage of the opportunity. The Athenas settled down and started moving the ball more comfortably, but could not find any open positions near the goal. Sophomore Corie Hack (CMC) took it upon herself, weaving through several defenders in traffic with her quickness and slipped a shot past the keeper to tie the game.
With 16 minutes left in the half, Amherst took the lead back with a goal off a free position, but the Athenas responded four minutes later thanks to a goal from Cohen. The Purple & White got more aggressive on the offensive end, playing with more pressure near the net. However, the Athenas persistently pushed Amherst around, forcing them to take shots from uncomfortable spots. CMS looked to pounce on the counterattack, but Amherst was quick to deny CMS any clean shots. The score remained tied 2-2 at the end of the half.
Amherst continued its pressure on offense, packing players up top and picking up each other's misses. The Athenas tried to hold on, but gave up a goal four minutes into the second half. CMS responded quickly a minute later when Cancelmo slotted a pass to Clubb who was standing wide right from the net. Clubb flicked a quick pass to a cutting Cohen near the net and the freshman did not hesitate to snap a quick shot past the keeper to tie the game at three apiece.
The Purple & White continued to press up top, but could not break past the Athenas' gritty defense. Despres made several key blocks at close range and Hack unleashed a timely body check on an Amherst player to deny an open run. With 18:47 left on the clock, the Athenas finally caught momentum when an Amherst player received a yellow card, giving CMS a power play opportunity. Cohen capitalized with a bouncing shot at close range after taking a short pass from Cancelmo, giving CMS its first lead of the game with 17:08 remaining on the clock.
The Athenas added one more three minutes later when Clubb flung a quick pass on a free position attempt to freshman Hannah Graves (CMC) who was standing at the right side of the net. Graves turned quickly towards the goal and lashed a close range shot through the net to make it 5-3.
Amherst eventually got within one after Kate Wyeth scored off a pass from Julia Crerend, and looked primed to score another after Cohen was shown the yellow card. However, CMS maintained its composure and retained possession despite being a woman down. The Athenas successfully fended off the Purple & White until Cohen returned to the field and held them scoreless until the final whistle.
CMS will return to California to face Occidental on the road on Saturday, March 25 at 1 p.m.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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