LOS ANGELES – It seemed like only a matter of time before the Occidental College women's soccer team would find the back of the net. It just took a little longer than maybe they would have liked.
After 19 shots, nearly 80 minutes of "almost" and a handful of great opportunities, Whitney Roline (Eugene, Ore.) finished a cross from Michaela Tsuha (Honolulu) for the game-winning goal in the 79th minute, finally giving the Tigers the score they needed to beat Whittier 1-0 at Lower Field on Saturday.
With the win, Oxy (4-8, 3-7 SCIAC) joins the Poets (5-9, 3-7 SCIAC) in a tie for sixth place in the SCIAC standings.
The Tigers fired 21 shots, eight on Target, but had nothing to show for them until Roline's right-footed shot hugged the grass to find the bottom-left corner. Roline, who had two great chances in the second half, was as relieved as she was excited to beat Whittier goalie Shanna Falch after so many quality chances.
"We were finally able to capitalize," said Roline, who leads the Tigers with four goals on the season. "We had 21 shots and to finally get one in felt amazing."
Oxy almost had to smile at how close they were for so long. The Tigers had cross after cross, and shot after shot by the minute it seemed.
"It felt so good just because our whole team had so many shots so to have something to show for it was awesome," Roline said.
In the 57th minute, Roline had her first crack on goal with a shot from inside the box that Falch saved. Less than 10 minutes later, Roline had the best opportunity yet in the 64th minute. She fielded a cross from Garcia at the back post, but her shot at the open net sailed over the bar.
The Tigers fired 10 shots to the poets four in the first half and 11 to their two in the second, spending most of the game in Whittier's defensive third of the field.
Elissa Minamishin (Waipahu, Hawaii) led the Tigers with five shots, Roline had four, Tsuha had three, Megan Leslie (Woodbury, Minn.) had two and Taryn Ng (Milpitas), Abigail Mitchell (Lafayette), Katie McDonald (Pasadena), Karina Garcia (Alhambra) and Bridget Harvey (Hanover, N.H.) each had one.
The first of Tsuha's chances was Oxy's best of the first half. She collected a ball inside the Poets' box with time, but missed high in the 40th minute.
Maegan Garcia almost got the Poets on the board in the 10th minute off a through ball from Allison Calabrese, but missed wide right.
Oxy begins a three-game road stretch at Cal Lutheran on Wednesday at 7 p.m.