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February 20, 2013

Finch-Sanders scores seven as Oxy beats Redlands

By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director

LOS ANGELES – When all that stands between you and a SCIAC championship, perfect season and NCAA playoff victory is one team, it has to eat at you.

But fortunately for the Occidental College women's lacrosse team Wednesday night was a new season with a new opportunity.

Beebe Finch-Sanders (Berkeley) scored a game-high seven goals, the Tigers defense allowed just one goal for the first 28 minutes of the second half and Oxy beat previously undefeated Redlands, 12-9, earning a huge victory over the only team it lost to all of last year.

The Tigers finished the 2012 season 13-4 with all four losses coming at the hands of the Bulldogs (3-1, 3-1 SCIAC).

So for Finch-Sanders and the rest of the Tigers, the win at Jack Kemp Stadium was especially gratifying.

"There are no words really. It feels great and empowering, honestly," said Finch-Sanders, whose seven goals is a career best. "We've worked so hard to beat Redlands and to be a powerhouse."

It's also an important win considering where the Tigers are in this year's SCIAC standings. Beating Redlands puts them just one game behind the Bulldogs and Chapman for first place, and bunched up with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer for third.

"We wanted it so badly. We've been practicing and even though we've had some rough bumps we've been lifting each other up in practice," Finch-Sanders said. "We brought our A game, we brought our A offense and we finished strong."

Finch-Sanders scored four goals in the first half, three of them on free position opportunities, to get Oxy rolling. Then after Jacky Craycraft opened the second half with a goal to put Redlands up 7-6, Finch-Sanders answered with two in a row, igniting a 5-0 run that allowed the Tigers to worry only about maintaining possession and protecting their lead.

"I'm just proud of our kids," Occidental coach Michele Uhlfelder said. "We handled their pressure and really learned to value the ball. We cleaned up our unforced errors and didn't give them second-chance points."

Oxy kept the Bulldogs off of the scoreboard after Craycraft's score with 27:13 left until she scored again to break the drought with 2:33 to play in the game. By then Oxy was already up four goals and had the game comfortably in hand.

"Our defense got big stops when we needed stops and when we needed the momentum," Uhlfelder said.

Kristen Feinberg (Haverford, Pa.) picked up a ground ball and caused a turnover in the last 3 minutes, foiling any hope Redlands had of making a late comeback.

Freshman goalie Kirsten Hee (Vancouver) made one save in her second career college victory and was kept relatively clean by Oxy's back line.

The Tigers took their biggest lead, 11-7, around the 15-minute mark in the second half when Haley Gandsey (Oakland) found the net for her only goal of the contest.

Tori Larson (Denver, Colo.), who came into the game leading the Tigers with 15 goals on the season, had a relatively quiet night, scoring just one goal in the second half.

Isabel Osgood-Roach (Portland, Ore.) and Lauren Wemple (Needham, Mass.) each scored goals for Oxy in the first half. Wemple also had a pair of assists.

Oxy First Team All-SCIAC attacker Sarah Kessler (Portland, Ore.) did not play due to injury.

The Tigers are back at home on Saturday, playing Augustana (Ill.) at Jack Kemp Stadium at 1 p.m.