At the Posada Royale Invitational in Thousand Oaks this past weekend, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team flew through the tournament with wins over Concordia, Azusa Pacific and St. Francis, but suffered a defeat at the hands of Cal State Monterey Bay in its final match.
With the return of the swimmers, the team nearly doubled in size. Alex Lincoln PO ’14 and Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15 both won sprints for the Hens at the beginning of each quarter, allowing the Hens to begin with the ball in their possession. The swimmers also added speed to the Sagehen counterattack, scoring a few one-on-nobody goals throughout the tournament.
The Hens and Concordia matched each other goal for goal throughout the game, until Chrissie Alving-Trinh PO ’15 scored a perfectly placed, high-corner shot from the outside with a minute and a half left in the fourth quarter to extend the Sagehen lead to 7-5. Concordia scored another goal on a counterattack, but when the ball returned to Sagehen possession, they ran out the clock for a 7-6 victory.
The Hens started off slow in the match against Azusa Pacific but prevailed in the fourth quarter as the defense held APU scoreless and Alyssa Woodward PZ ’15 and Annie Oxborough-Yankus PZ ’12 scored to secure a 7-5 Sagehen win.
The match against the St. Francis Terriers was won in the third quarter when the Hens went on a 4-0 scoring run for a 10-4 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Terriers could not answer back in the fourth, and the game ended with a score of 11-6.
The Sagehens knew the match against the Monterey Bay Otters would be the toughest of the weekend. Back in January at the Cal Speedo Cup, the Hens narrowly lost to CSUMB 5-7. Throughout the week preceding the Posada Royale Invitational at Cal Lu, head coach Alex Rodriguez and assistant coaches Chris Lee, Julia Fancher and Kristin McKown had been working with the team on ways to overcome the Otter defenses and to stop their counterattack, both of which had given the Hens trouble back in January.
Before their final game against Monterey Bay, word reached the Sagehens of SCIAC competitor Occidental College’s shocking win over tenth-ranked UC Santa Barbara. The Hens were even more fired up about enacting revenge on Monterey Bay. After all, if a fellow SCIAC team could defeat a ranked Division I squad, surely the Sagehens could defeat a non-ranked but competitive Division I program.
The tension was thick and the tempers high between the Hens and the Otters. Trash-talking among the players abounded, while the onlooking parents and spectators were as equally involved in the rivalry as the coaches and the players.
The Hens fell behind early in the game, not fully able to break through the defense that had given them trouble back in Jan. At halftime, the Hens were behind 3-6.
The breakthrough came in the third quarter, as goals from Woodward, Oxborough-Yankus and Sarah Westcott PO ’15 tied the game at 6-6. The Otters answered with a scoring run of their own, and the Hens finished the quarter behind 7-9.
The Hens caught up again in the fourth, narrowing the Otter lead to one goal before the Otters shut down the Hens’ offensive opportunities. Unable to recover from another Otter scoring run, the Hens fell 10-13.
P-P improved offensively from the previous encounter with Monterey Bay, doubling the number of goals scored against the Otter defense. Unfortunately, they still could not keep up with the Monterey Bay drivers enough to shut down their offense.
“That was the first time this season I had seen [the Hens] so aggressive,” Rodriguez said after the game. Even though the Hens could not pull through with the win, Rodriguez was proud that the Hens never gave up at any point during the game.
P-P and CMS host Claremont Convergence this weekend, where they will play four home games at Haldeman Pool. They will face eighth-ranked University of California Irvine and Cal Baptist at 2 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. today and Siena and Whittier at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The Hens look forward to facing another ranked Division I team in Irvine and another SCIAC competitor in Whittier and look to seize the opportunity to replay Cal Baptist and improve from earlier in the year. Claremont Convergence gives the Hens four exciting games before they take a few days off for spring break.