SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (Sept. 29-30, 2009) - The 2009 Lancer Invite Tournament proved to be a tough one for the Occidental College Tigers. Despite entering the weekend short-handed, due to the illnesses of two starters, the Tigers were feeling pretty confident.
The first day of the tournament put the Tigers’ team chemistry to the test. In the absence of head coach Larry Zubrin, assistant coach Scott Shannon took the helm and called the plays. Occidental’s game plan was then in the hands of Oxy’s duo of junior attackers, Austen Oliver and Greg Benz.
The first game turned out to be full of adversities as the Tigers’ had to try and create new offensive and defensive strategies due to the lack of certain key players. Occidental fell short, suffering a tough loss to league rival University of La Verne, 10-7. Benz led the offense with three goals while sophomore Tai McDermott added a pair. Both Benz and Oliver drew two ejections. Freshman goalie Scott Churchman made seven blocks and added a steal.
In the night cap on day one, the Lancers (B) of host California Baptist University got the best of the Oxy, sending the Tigers home with a 14-10 loss. Freshman Joe Reynolds had a break-out game, though, with three goals in just four attempts, adding three steals and a field block. Benz again played solid all around with a pair of goals, two steals, a field block, a drawn ejection and even a save in front of the cage.
“Not having a big roster, and with [head] coach and Max [captain/goalie] missing, it was tough for our team to try to adjust and change our game plan at the last minute,” said Richard Dybas. “But we kept fighting and never gave up.”
After a tough first day, the Tigers looked to improve their game plan on day two with the addition of Max Kelly to the active roster. Returning to the pool proved to be a great enhancement as he finished the day with 32 saves in a pair of games.
Occidental would start off the day against the Riverside City College Tigers, in what would turn out to be a game of speed and agility. The Oxy Tigers fell behind early in the game and even though they would manage to control the second-half, they would fall short in the end, losing to RCC 13-9. Dybas and Oliver pitched in with two goals apiece and McDermott and Benz combined to steal the ball five times. Oliver also gave the Tigers four man-up situation with four drawn ejections.
In Occidental’s final game of the tournament they were outmatched, 13-7, by the host Lancers (A) of CBU as they struggled to find any momentum in the game. Oliver turned in a three-goal performance with three drawn ejections and Dybas added a pair of goals.
The Tigers ended the tournament 0-4, leaving them at an overall record of 1-7. Occidental will be back in the pool on Friday, Oct. 2 when they travel to Claremont, Calif. to participate in the 2009 Claremont Convergence Tournament.
Article: Adalberto Vasquez, Student Reporter