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Sally Abel's fourth goal proved to be the game-winner in a 10-9 win over Occidental
Sally Abel's fourth goal proved to be the game-winner in a 10-9 win over Occidental

Abel's Game-Winner Helps CMS Women's Lacrosse Battle Back for 10-9 win over Occidental

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Junior Sally Abel scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:42 remaining, her fourth of the contest, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's lacrosse team came back from a 7-4 halftime deficit to earn a hard-fought 10-9 win over previously unbeaten Occidental on Saturday afternoon at Zinda Field.

The Athenas, who had a 37-game win streak in SCIAC games snapped on Wednesday night at Pomona-Pitzer, needed everything they had to avoid a two-game skid, improving to 2-1 on the season (all in league games). Occidental falls to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in league play with its first loss. 

Senior goalie Sara Reid had a big role in the win as well, allowing only two goals in the second half as she got the win in relief. Senior Luisa Valles caused six turnovers in her starting defensive role, while picking up four ground balls, while senior Zoe Ryan had four caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Occidental closed out the first half on a 4-0 run, with the last two goals scored by Marie Whitmore, to take a 7-4 lead into the break. The Athenas had a player advantage carry over into the second half after an Occidental yellow card, and they took advantage as sophomore midfielder Sammie Cohen scored on a free position shot 34 seconds into the second half. 

Just 23 seconds later, Abel scored her third of the game to pull CMS within 7-6 and make it a new ball game before the second half was even a minute old. Occidental earned a free position chance with 25:19 to go that was converted by Isabella Litt to make it an 8-6 game, before Cohen scored her second of the half off a feed from junior attack Emma Johnson with 19:03 to go.

The score remained stuck at 8-7 for over 10 minutes, before the Athenas found an equalizer. First-year attack Macie Gruver took the ball in isolation at the point and made a hard cut to the middle of the field before bouncing home a shot with 8:38 remaining to tie it at 8-8. 

Occidental took the lead back with 3:30 to go when Whitmore weaved through the CMS defense and was able to convert from close range to make it a 9-8 contest. Cohen won the important draw control, though, and her older sister, senior Emily Cohen, earned a free position opportunity with 3:02 to go. Cohen dropped her hands on the whistle and sent a low shot from shin-high that beat Occidental goalie Katherine Drake to knot the score 9-9.

Again CMS came through with the draw control, with sophomore Alex Futterman earning this one, and after the Athenas called a timeout, they were able to get Abel isolated from the right side, and she cut back to the middle on her left hand and put home the winning shot. 

CMS had to survive one last flurry of turnovers in the last 1:30, with Abel forcing the final one and picking up the ensuing ground ball to get the ball into the Athenas' attacking end, where they were able to run out the clock. 

Sammie Cohen finished with two goals, Emma Johnson had a goal and an assist for CMS, while Futterman and Emily Cohen each had a goal. 

The Athenas will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Whittier for a 7 p.m. contest.