P-P water polo remains undefeated in conference play

James Kelbert PO ’20 maintains control of the ball during a game Sept. 22. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

Whittier (14-13, 9-4 SCIAC) proved to be no threat against the Pomona-Pitzer water polo team (21-8, 13-0 SCIAC) Nov. 3, as the Sagehens took home a 15-10 win on Senior Day to stay undefeated in the SCIAC.

The Sagehens started the game slow, and they let Whittier hang around through the first half, as the two sides were tied 5-5 after two quarters. However, the Sagehens jumped out to a lead in the third and didn’t look back, outscoring the Poets 10-5 in the second half.

With the win, P-P picked up their 12th conference victory of the season, and still have not suffered a loss in the SCIAC. They later defeated Caltech 18-9 Wednesday to improve to 13-0.

When describing the team’s success, goalkeeper James Kelbert PO ’20 said: “As a team, we are never satisfied with where we are at. Every single day we try to be better than we were the day before.”

The game was only part of Saturday’s festivities, as the team also celebrated their only senior, Adam Ward PO ’19.

“[Ward] has been the most dedicated, hard-working, and extraordinary man I have ever met in my time playing water polo,” Kelbert said. “It was a great day to honor his commitment to the program and how he changed the trajectory of the entire program moving forward.”

Senior day was particularly special for Ward, who scored four goals and played an integral role in the Sagehen win over Whittier.

When asked about his role as the only senior, he emphasized his responsibility as a role-model to a team that largely consists of underclassmen.

“Having been a captain last year and now a captain and a senior this year, my biggest role now is to help lead the team, along with co-captain Jacob Niskey PO ’18, and to be the best role model I can be to the younger guys by working hard every day,” Ward said.

With 13 underclassmen on the team, defender Joe Schafer PO ’20 emphasized how his role has changed in terms of leadership.

“My role on this team has shifted to one of learning the system to one who is helping teach the system,” Schafer said. “I just try [my] best to help orchestrate a successful team both in the water and out.”

Kelbert, who has jumped into a starting role this season, described how his role has changed from last season.

“This year, my role has been to get better everyday and to make all of our field players work as hard as possible to try and score,” he said. “Personally, not playing a fair amount for the first two years has only motivated me more to become better and better.”

The Sagehens will look to complete an undefeated SCIAC season Saturday when they face off against Sixth Street rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (15-9, 10-3 SCIAC).

To maintain their undefeated streak, Ward reiterated the importance of entering the game with the right mindset.

“Going into CMS, we need to keep the momentum we have going, and I personally want to be sure that I work to take advantage of every opportunity in front of the cage I have,” Ward said.

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