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March 8, 2012

OXY HOLDS OFF FORT LEWIS, WINNING STREAK AT FIVE

By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

LOS ANGELES — Make it five.

Tori Larson (Denver) scored a game-high six goals, on just nine shots, and the Occidental College women's lacrosse team won its fifth game in a row, continuing the longest winning streak the third-year program's ever had.

After falling behind 1-0 less than 2 minutes into the game, the Tigers (5-1) scored three unanswered and never gave up the lead for the rest of the night, hanging on for a 12-9 win over NCAA Division II Fort Lewis College at Jack Kemp Stadium on Thursday.

Fort Lewis (2-1), a member of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference, cut the lead to one goal on three occasions, but the Tigers answered back every time. The final time, following two goals by Fort Lewis' Jessica Norby that made the game 8-7 with 18:42 left in the second half, was quickly answered by Larson, who scored consecutive goals that gave Oxy a 10-7 edge. Then Sarah Kessler (Portland, Ore.) added a goal and Larson scored her sixth, putting the Tigers up 12-7 with 6:34 left.

Oxy won just seven draws to the Skyhawks' 16, but forced 22 turnovers and grabbed four more ground balls (25-21).

"What was key for us was how hard we worked between the 30s," Occidental coach Michele Uhlfelder said. "This was a game that every possession and each ground ball felt important. Our kids were locked into that.

Everyone knows how important the draw is, and while we were battling for it, statistically we didn't win that battle. We made up for it with turnovers."

Adrienne Ruth (Springfield, Va.), Oxy's freshman goalkeeper, made 10 saves for the second time in six career games — Ruth had 10 in a 7-6 win over Adrian on Feb. 27. After making some impressive saves at critical moments, Ruth was poised in transitioning Oxy to attack.

"I was proud of her composure on her clears. I thought she was seeing her options very well," Uhlfelder said. "She had a really good presence in the cage and came up with some key saves at key moments."

Rebecca Belding (Burlingame) had three scores for Oxy and Sarah Kessler (Portland, Ore.), the Tigers leader in goals this season (18) and all-time leading scorer (97), added two. Lauren Wemple (Needham, Mass.) assisted on two goals for the Tigers.

Norby and Kylie Smith each had two goals to lead the Skyhawks.

"I thought it was a really fast-paced, hard-fought game," Uhlfelder said. "I think they really pushed us and our kids kept their composure and executed."

Oxy hosts Puget Sound at Jack Kemp Stadium at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.