By Michael Wells Sports Information Director
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The buzzer beater, the walk-off homerun and the golden goal are three plays on the short list of most thrilling ways a sporting event can be won, and three of the most euphoric feelings an athlete or team can experience. The opportunities for them are seldom, but when they are accomplished, it's about as good as it gets in sports.
On Wednesday, 96 minutes into a match with the University of La Verne, Occidental College's Alex Nicholson and the Tigers women's soccer team had one those dreamt-about moments.
The junior forward split two defenders with the dribble, then placed a shot past goalkeeper Pacheco Delanie, beating the Leopards on the road in sudden death overtime.
"Everyone rushed the field. It was just so exciting and a tribute to all of our hard work and the wins we should have been getting," Nicholson said. ""It hasn't been clicking for us, but today it did.
The Tigers (1-4, 1-1) have struggled and Nicholson in particular has been close to scoring, leading the team in shots and shots on goal, but without any goals to show for them.
"I think it was important to win this game despite the score," Nicholson said. "We made a unanimous decision to put losing behind us. … It was really a team effort."
The Tigers trailed 2-1 in the second half, but two unassisted goals, one by Liz Martin in the 66th minute and the other the game-winner by Nicholson gave Oxy their first SCIAC and regular season win of the season.
"Both Liz and Alex had crucial goals for us tonight," Occidental coach Colm McFeely said. "But it was the way our team rallied together and came back from behind that was really inspiring."
Martin tied the game at two on a through ball that she deflected off a ULV defender and into the net for the equalizer. Elissa Minamishin scored Oxy's first goal and her fourth on the season.
The comeback win is a sigh of relief and a jolt for a women's soccer team that has had some bad breaks so far this season.
"I think our team definitely needed it. I think that in the second half we really played like we wanted to win," Martin said. This win proves that when we work hard and do right thing, it pays off."
Martin said Oxy played much more aggressively throughout the game, but particularly in the second half.
"It shows that we are a winning team and we have capability to put it together and make it happen," Martin said. "We looked like we wanted to score. We looked like we wanted to win."