On Nov. 4, Occidental College’s men’s soccer team broke a 1-1 tie in overtime against Pomona-Pitzer winning them the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) pre-championship game. Fatigue had set in for both teams — almost 100 minutes had passed and there were 10 more to go. With 3,698 fans’ eyes on his back, Christian Corcoran (sophomore) sent a powerful header, propelling the ball past Pomona-Pitzer’s goalie with eight seconds left in the first overtime period.
“I was extremely tired; my muscles were cramping everywhere. And then I was like, ‘eight seconds left, I might as well get in, we have a chance to score,’” Corcoran said. “Evan [Karp] was taking the free kick and he [kicked] the ball into a great area. I just saw it coming and it all sort of happened really fast. I flung my head on it towards the goal and it went in the bottom corner. And then yeah, right at the end of the first half of overtime we went up by one.”
In the 104th minute of the game, Adrian Paredes (senior) sent a soaring cross-the-field pass to Corcoran who found the back of the net for his second goal of the night.
“[Corcoran] was about to come [out of] the game, actually, because he had gotten hurt a few plays before,” Paredes said. “He told our coach that he needed to sub, so our coach told someone to warm up, but then he scored the goal.”
Corcoran said he credits his teammates for every moment that led up to his goals and, also, attributes his goals to a well-executed team effort. Corcoran was a starting defender in Friday’s game and says he had been in attacking situations all season.
“I felt like it was like a rubber band about to snap in terms of me getting a goal. I wasn’t expecting two [goals], and it felt amazing, especially with the big crowd,” Corcoran said.
Teammate Sam Jenkins (sophomore) said it was a really proud moment for Corcoran, and he knew how much the goals meant to him because of conversations they had every day off the field.
“I knew his parents were there, I knew that they cared so much that they came down for a lot of the games,” Jenkins said. “It was his birthday weekend. All these things that I guess I took [as] just the standard things all came together in one moment.”
Jenkins said Corcoran leads by example and is very motivating: he is always there to give everyone an extra push when they need it. Paredes said that Corcoran is always so upbeat and a joy to have around at practice — bringing energy and cracking jokes.
“I think even after his first year, I knew he was going to be a big part of this team. He’s one of our best defenders,” Paredes said. “He has great attacking qualities [and] defending qualities, just all-around [a] great player. And this year, he stepped up in a big moment. And I’m proud of him for that.”
The 3-1 win over Pomona-Pitzer sent the Tigers to the SCIAC championship. Unfortunately, their playoff run was cut short with a 1-0 loss to Chapman, but Corcoran still holds optimistic views looking ahead to next season.
“My goals for next season are to definitely improve on the numbers I got this year. I want to help the team personally. I think the team’s [goal] will definitely be to get back into playoffs,” Corcoran said. “We’re losing some key personalities and seniors and leaders, but we also have some great players returning that can help us do great things next year.”
Paredes, the graduating captain, said he has high hopes for Corcoran.
“I think he is going to become a future leader,” Paredes said. “He’s one of the most driven and responsible players on our team. I think that’s something that younger players will definitely look up to.”
Antigone Lambros (senior) may be the lone senior on Occidental College’s women’s cross-country team, but her teammate Merrick Hoel (sophomore) said her roles on the team reach far and wide. According to Hoel, Lambros has been described as a leader, best friend, role model and older sister by her teammates.
According to Hoel, Lambros’ love and care have been helpful in aspects of life — teaching her to approach everything with an optimistic outlook and have a good attitude even when things are tough.
“I met her last year and coming into college, I was definitely homesick a lot and I missed my older sister, and she reminds me a lot of my older sister, which has been great to have,” Hoel said. “Also, a sister in the way that she’s like a mentor, and like a role model for me. She’s a really great leader and she’s so fun to be around.”
Hoel said Lambros brings a positive presence as a leader.
“She goes out of her way to check in with everyone on the team,” Hoel said. “I think everyone could say that they know Antigone in some sort of way and they have a relationship with her, because she goes out of her way to talk to everyone.”
With the addition of a large first-year class — the women’s cross-country team lists 30 members on the 2022-23 roster — Lambros said she didn’t hesitate to welcome the newcomers with open arms; she said one of her strengths is making people feel very welcome and very at home on a team. According to Lambros, everyone on the team brings something unique, different and valuable.
“I’ve gotten to know each of the freshmen individually really well and reassure them that I was there once too,” Lambros said. “I’ve really been able to be there and just tell them, ‘Hang in there, it’s going to get better.’ I think they were so quiet coming in and kind of unsure, and I’ve just been able to watch them become more competent [in] themselves as runners and more competent [in] their place on the team.”
Ciara Gillen (junior) is a teammate and close friend of Lambros who has witnessed firsthand the effects of Lambros’ impact on others. At the team’s end-of-the-season senior banquet, Gillen said almost every single person on the team, both men’s and women’s, spoke about Lambros.
Gillen said that Lambros has made lasting impressions on the team’s culture. Lambros did her Sociology senior comps on disordered eating in Division III female runners, which Gillen said is a hugely important topic, and credits Lambros for improving the environment surrounding these issues.
“I think she specifically has really created a team culture of openness about mental health in general. I feel so secure and supported on a team like that and I think that’s almost entirely thanks to Tig (Lambros),” Gillen said. “I hope that I or other people on the team are able to embody that in some way when she leaves because it’s just been so incredibly impactful for me, and I think it’s important to keep that kind of culture alive.”
Gillen said Lambros has become something like a best friend or sibling to her and that she has learned a lot from Lambros as both an athlete and an advocate for herself.
“She’s somebody that I know I can always go to with anything, and I trust her so deeply,” Gillen said. “She has definitely taught me to stand up for myself and stand up to things on the team or off the team that I don’t feel are right.”