LOS ANGELES — The Occidental College women's lacrosse team turned heads when it punched No. 5 Franklin & Marshall in the mouth with three unanswered goals to start the game on Wednesday.
But the national power quickly found a rhythm and was able to pull away from the surging West Coast program, turning the Tigers over 19 times on its way to a 19-5 win at Jack Kemp Stadium.
It's the first blemish on Oxy's record after getting off to the best start in the program's five-year history. Before losing to the Diplomats, Oxy was 6-0 overall and 5-0 through one round of SCIAC play, earning some votes in the IWLCA National top 25 poll.
Mackenzie Wright deflected in a shot from Mary Richardson less than 1 minute into the contest and Oxy's perennial All-SCIAC and All-West region star Tori Larson followed it up with a score from just outside the cage and a free position goal, leaving fans to wonder if they were about to witness a big upset.
But Franklin & Marshall's Anastasia Mergner took over the game, winning draws, swooping up ground balls and initiating offense for herself and her teammates. Mergner finished with two goals, three ground balls and six draw controls.
With 25:16 on the clock in the first half and a 3-0 lead, the Tigers lost four of the next five draws and surrendered the lead to the Diplomats along with their early-game momentum just after the 9-minute mark.
By halftime Franklin & Marshall had put away 12 unanswered goals.
Alida Beck scored both of Oxy's goals in the second half.
Brita Loeb finished with five draw controls and three ground balls.
The Tigers return to action on March 25 against North Central (Ill.) at 7 p.m.
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