Occidental men’s soccer won the 2023 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics (SCIAC) Championship for the first time in school history with a score of 3-0 against University of Redlands Nov. 4.
This article was written for and originally published in The Occidental, the independent student-run newspaper at Occidental College. Read this article and more coverage online at theoccidentalnews.com.
By Reyan Nguy
According to Christian Corcoran ’25, a defender on the team, the soccer team is absolutely buzzed.
“We’ve been working for this for years now,” Corcoran said.
According to forward Oury Diane ’25, the team believed that they would win SCIAC’s since the first day they arrived on campus.
Riley Nyhan ’25, a goalkeeper on the team, said he feels electric.
“First SCIAC championship, it feels amazing,” Nyhan said. “So proud of the lads, everybody worked so hard — just so proud of everybody.”
According to Nyhan, the team had already beat Redlands twice already.
“We had the brooms out for three [wins] against Redlands,” Nyhan said.
According to the SCIAC website, coaches Rod Lafaurie was named coaching staff of the year for leading the team to its first SCIAC regular season title. Assistant coach Ernesto Ramirez said he wanted to thank all the super fans, coaching staff and most importantly, the players.
“They deserve [the win],” Ramirez said.
Sebastian Romero (senior), a defender who was also recognized by SCIAC as the most outstanding player of the championship match, scored the Tigers’ first goal with a backward header off of a longshot throw in by Joey Shwartz ’24 by the fifth minute of the game.
According to the Oxy Athletics game recap, it was the second fastest opening goal in SCIAC history.
“It came as a little bit of a shock, I didn’t think I was playing too well,” Romero said. “When I scored the goal, it just turned my confidence and the whole game around.”
Nyhan said there was never a doubt.
“[I have to] trust myself and trust my teammates … and it worked out,” Nyhan said.
Diego Cavalie ’27, a defender, said time stopped for him when he scored the second goal at 76:34 with a bicycle kick.
“Time stopped completely, and I just couldn’t believe it myself,” Cavalie said. “It felt as if I was in a dream… it was crazy.”
Midfielder Andrew Notter ’25 said Cavalie’s goal was a highlight for him.
“I’m so happy that he got his first goal today. It’s such a big moment,” Notter said. “[I’m] very proud of him.”
According to Ramirez, one of the highlights of the game was their first goal.
“The first five minutes, we put a goal in,” Ramirez said. “I think that was important for us to get our momentum going.”
Corcoran said he attributes the team’s success to Laufarie.
“He’s brought us up,” Corcoran said. “We’re really proud.”
Notter said the coaching staff was phenomenal in helping them get their wins this season.
“They got us ready for every single game so [I’m] very appreciative of them,” Notter said. “They’ve done so much hard work this year.”
Ramirez said the training was composed of a lot of hours of hard work.
“The preparation was the mental aspect,” Ramirez said. “It had to do with being tough and getting it done.”
According to the NCAA website, the Tigers lost 0-1 in overtime against Chapman University in the 2022 SCIAC championship game. Corocoran said the team didn’t want to feel that loss again.
“We just believed we could do it,” Corcoran said. “We knew how it felt last year, it was really bitter, we hated it.”
According to Ramirez, they kept last season in mind as they prepared for this year.
“We put in [hours] to making sure, if we had the opportunity to step into the final again,” Ramirez said. “That this time we got it done.”
Notter said it hyped them up knowing they almost won last year.
“We had a taste of it last year… it was on the tip of our tongues,” Notter said. “We finally got it done this year, so I think we’re all very, very happy.”
Ramirez said they suffered in the first half after their goal, but a few adjustments were made for the second half which led to getting their second and third goals, boosting the team’s morale.
Cavalie also said the team’s morale was amazing.
“The team culture is insane,” Cavalie said. “Everyone loves each other.”
Notter said he is very excited for the NCAA tournament, where the team will play the University of Saint Thomas Nov. 11 in Houston, Texas.
According to Diane, this is just the first check.
“We got to keep going,” Diane said. “Now, NCAA [tournament]. We go.”