Claremont, Calif. - Senior forward Traci Lopez (Santa Fe, N.M. - pictured) scored a pair of first-half goals as the Pomona-Pitzer Women's Soccer team earned a 2-0 win over Biola on Saturday afternoon in its final tune-up before SCIAC play begins.
The win was Pomona-Pitzer's second in a row, both by shutout, as it improves to 2-1 on the year with only one goal allowed (on a penalty kick) through three games.
"This was a great game for us," said head coach Jen Scanlon. "Last year, against a team of Biola's level, we wouldn't have won that game. It's exciting for us to be able to score against a team that strong a couple of times, and then play well enough defensively to get the shutout on top of that. This gives us a great lift going into the SCIAC."
Pomona-Pitzer got on the board early, as Lopez scored her first goal off a feed from junior midfielder Allie Tao (Alamo, Calif.) at the 12:06 mark. The play started as Tao broke into the left side of the box and had a shot blocked by the Biola defense. The rebound bounced back to Tao, who took one dribble to the end line and slotted a low crossing pass into the center of the box. Lopez was in perfect position unmarked 12 yards from goal and struck a low shot into the left side of the net.
The two players nearly connected for another goal in reverse a minute later, but Tao's one-timer from 15 yards off a Lopez feed bent just over the crossbar.
Later in the first half, Lopez nearly added a second goal as she dribbled through a pair of Biola defenders outside the box and had a clean look at goal from 12 yards, but Eagles goalkeeper Erin Frushon was able to make a diving save to her left to keep the score 1-0.
In the closing moments of the half, sophomore defender Jordan Bryant (Pomona, Calif.) nearly came up with a spectacular goal when she blasted a 35-yard shot on target that Frushon barely tipped over the bar. Just moments later, though, the Sagehens broke through for their second goal off a corner kick, as Lopez headed in a bending ball from junior defender Claire Mueller (Lincoln, Neb.) with 50 seconds left in the half to stretch the lead to 2-0.
"Traci was a difference-maker today," said Scanlon. "She was dangerous on the attack the whole game, and she put away two chances when she got them. The goal at the end of the half was huge to give us some cushion and provide an emotional lift heading into halftime."
Biola had its best chance in the first five minutes of the second half as Ashleigh Cooley got on the end of a long diagonal pass along the right sideline and broke in for a clean look from inside the right edge of the box. Sagehens goalkeeper Emma Wolfarth (Arlington, Va.) made a diving save at the near post to keep Biola off the board.
Tao nearly put the Sagehens up 3-0 in the 71st minute as she clanged a shot off the near post from close range. The rebound almost came to Lopez with the net open for a hat trick, but her shot attempt was smothered by a Biola defender.
Pomona-Pitzer finished with a 15-5 edge in shots for the game, including 11-2 in the decisive first half, while also tallying a 7-1 advantage on corner kicks. Wolfarth had four saves for her second straight shutout, while Frushon had seven for Biola.
The Sagehens will next be in action when they open SCIAC play with a home game against Redlands on Wednesday at 4 p.m.