Sagehens Look to Rise from Ashes of a Tough Weekend, Prepare for SCIAC Play


Last Saturday, the Pomona-Pitzer_x000D_
Men’s Water Polo team played their first home game of the season against the University of California San Diego Tritons.  Ranked 12th in NCAA Division II, the Sagehens were up against tough competition.  And although the Hens held the Tritons at bay for the first quarter,  Poseidon reared his ugly head early on in the second quarter, and the Tritons grabbed a 7-0 lead. 

back-to-back goals by attacker Stephen Vint PZ ’13 and teammate Jason Cox PZ ’13 pulled_x000D_
P-P within five points of their nemesis, until UCSD answered with two goals of its own, heading into halftime with a 9-2 lead. The Hens were shutout in the third quarter, and ended the seven-minute quarter facing a ten-point deficit. Clayton Hardman PO ’15 and Vint each managed to_x000D_
lob a goal past the Triton goalkeeper’s windmill arms, but when the buzzer sounded, San Diego was up 15-4. 

“I think we’re a_x000D_
work in progress,” Coach Alex Rodriguez said with a curt shrug. Much of the team was unavailable for comment, donning fleeced swim-parkas and shuffling quickly into their nest.  Our tender reporter was relieved not to be privy to that post-game speech.

The team is expected to steadily improve in the coming_x000D_
weeks, as a handful of happy-handed freshmen, scoring three out of the Hens’ four goals, gain experience_x000D_
and become more comfortable as college athletes.  Coach Rodriguez sees plenty of potential in this season’s crop, and expects eager players to step up and fill_x000D_
the holes left by the graduation of two of last seasons top scorers.

contributing factor to the lopsided score was the difference in roster depth between the two teams. 

“The sheer number of players UCSD had gave them an advantage that cannot be_x000D_
underestimated,” one astute fan remarked.  One cannot deny the effect of fatigue on the muscles of our warrior Sagecocks, as wings are not always the modus operandi of choice in the water.  The self-selecting sport often weeds out the athletes who are not up to underwater contact sports.  Or swimming hundreds of laps during two-a-day practices.

Water polo is a game of champions that requires players to be in constant motion.  Imagine treading water for an hour, hands in the air and all the while men with strong legs are kicking you and working elbow-jabs in at your ribs.  Now toss in a ball, and you’ve only begun to imagine the wear-and-tear of a real water-warrior. Fighting up and down_x000D_
the pool, swimming in strokes like a guard’s legs in basketball, the lactic acid buildup is a struggle.  No Michael Phelps muscle-memory here. 

The Hens went on to fall in their three_x000D_
consecutive games. Maybe it was all that bussing around, or perhaps the losses were due to the variations in chlorination across campuses. But regardless of the reason, they fell to the Division I stars University of_x000D_
California Santa Barbara, University of California Davis and Irvine’s Concordia University. 

Though on_x000D_
the surface, the Water Polo team did not seem to have a very successful_x000D_
weekend, it must be remembered that Pomona-Pitzer purposefully schedules games_x000D_
against top teams early in the season in order to give players experience and_x000D_
toughen them up for SCIAC play. 

All in all, the games served their purpose of_x000D_
challenging the Sagehens and forcing them to overcome tough situations, and as_x000D_
Coach Rodriguez said, 

“We’ll be able to give them a better game next time.”


The Sagehens face off against Cal_x000D_
Baptist (Saturday, 1p.m.) and the Navy (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.) this weekend at the_x000D_
Haldeman pool, in what are expected to be tightly contested games.  Bring your binoculars, bring your kazoos, these boys have promised a show to those friendly fans who come to cheer them on this weekend!



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