REDLANDS — The Occidental women's lacrosse team was close enough to taste the program's first ever SCIAC Championship.
But Stephanie Garrett and the defending champions were too much to handle on their home field.
Garret scored three goals and had two assists while the Tigers couldn't get any offense going on the other side of the field in a 13-6 loss to Redlands in the SCIAC Championship Tournament Semifinals at Farquhar Field on Monday.
Had they won, the Tigers would have clinched at least a share of the conference championship due to the point system that determines the champion.
In the SCIAC, teams get one point for each double round robin win, one for a win in the first round of the conference playoffs, three for a win and two for a loss in the semifinals, and five for a win and four for a loss in the finals.
Instead, Oxy finishes the season in third place at 9-3 in SCIAC play and 12-5 overall. It isn't likely that they will receive a bid to the NCAA tournament.
Redlands advances to play Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC Championship on Saturday.
When the sting of the loss fades though, the Tigers can be proud of one of the best seasons in its history. In just its fifth season, the Tigers were one win away from a SCIAC Championship for the second time. Oxy lost to the Bulldogs in 2012 in the SCIAC Championship game and later again that year in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
"We didn't play our best lacrosse tonight and it would have been nice to put together a better showing," Oxy head coach Stephanie Janice said. "But I'm very happy with the way our team competed all season. They have a lot to be proud of and should hold their heads high."
In the 2014 matchup, Oxy was sloppy with the ball, committing 20 turnovers, and never got into a rhythm offensively.
Oxy scored just three goals in the first half and fell behind 12-3 at one point in the second. It wasn't until Samantha Stewart scored off of an offsides turnover that Oxy got a goal on the board in the second.
"We went up against a very good team. Redlands brought it tonight," Janice said. "We just didn't score and you aren't going to win many games scoring six goals."
Belding, Larson and Beebe Finch Sanders had Oxy's first-half goals.
Every time it looked like the Tigers might make a play to change the momentum in the second half, they just couldn't break through. Alida Beck had a free position attempt saved by Redlands goalie Gigja Hollyday, Rebecca Belding had a chance that missed wide left shortly after and Tori Larson couldn't convert on a dodge to her right on the same possession.
Belding added a second goal with 1:24 left in the second half. Rebecca Reese followed it up with one of her own shortly after on a free position with 1:02 on the clock.
Oxy goalie Kirsten Hee made a handful of saves to keep the Tigers competitive in the second half, but it only slowed the Bulldogs' attack.
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