Students from each of the 5Cs gathered by Haldeman Pool Wednesday night to watch the Pomona-Pitzer and CMS women’s water polo teams duel in the water.
It could not have been a more perfect situation for the Hen’s Senior Day game. Not only was Haldeman packed with fans looking for mid-week excitement, but graduating seniors Perri Hopkins PZ ’12 and Annie Oxborough-Yankus PZ ’12 both took part in an exciting last home game facing their Claremont rivals. The Sagehens arrived early to decorate the pool with blue and orange streamers, balloons, posters and a piñata to thank their senior teammates. The stands were filled with alumni, incoming first years and everyone in between. A few dedicated fans decorated themselves in body paint and bright orange jumpsuits.
The game started with a brief segment honoring the seniors, when Hopkins and Oxborough-Yankus stood before the crowd as announcer Jim Armstrong read a recap of their college years and head coach Alex Rodriguez distributed flowers and hugs.
The Hens went on the offensive from the beginning. Alyssa Woodward PO ’15 and Hopkins scored consecutive goals to put the Hens up 2-0 before CMS called a timeout to regroup. The Athenas answered back with a goal, but Woodward and Alex Lincoln PO ’14 put the Hens up 4-1. CMS scored to close out the quarter, and the first quarter ended with the Sagehens up 4-2.
The second quarter was nearly defensively flawless for both sides, as the only goal to come from the quarter was a 6-on-5 goal for CMS. The Athenas narrowed the Sagehen lead to one at halftime, but that was the closest they got for the rest of the game.
The Sagehens gained momentum toward the beginning of the third quarter when Hopkins and Oxborough-Yankus scored back-to-back for a perfect Senior Day combo. Woodward scored again to extend the Sagehen lead to 7-3.
The Hens could not get comfortable yet, though, as CMS threatened a comeback with a goal from each Filippelli sister. In the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Chrissie Alving-Trinh PO ’15 scored the final Sagehen goal off a quick rebound. The Hens had only to play defense as a steal from Hopkins and a block from Sarah Tuggy PO ’13 stifled the Athena offense for a final score of 8-5.
The Hens were relieved at avoiding overtime for their last home game. Their 9-7 victory over Cal Lutheran the previous Saturday marked their third overtime victory over SCIAC opponents this season.
Oxborough-Yankus scored the first goal against the Regals but was the only Sagehen to score in the first quarter, and the Regals went up 2-1 after the first.
The Sagehens completely dominated the second quarter, with goals from Sarah Westcott PO ’15, Mahalia Prater-Fahey PO ’15, Oxborough-Yankus, Woodward and Hopkins—broken up by just one Regal goal—and the Hens went up 6-3 at halftime.
When Westcott scored again at the beginning of the third quarter and the Hens led 7-3, the Hens thought they had the match in the bag. Westcott was the only Hen to score in the entire second half.
The Hens tried to cling to their defense throughout the fourth quarter as the Regals slowly whittled away at the Sagehen lead. With ten seconds left in the fourth quarter, a Regal perimeter shot missed the goal, and the Hens thought the game was over until the referees called an unexpected five-meter penalty shot.
The Regals scored the penalty shot and the Hens could not respond in the final seconds, sending the game into overtime.
The Hens are well-versed in the art of overtime by now, with victories over Occidental and La Verne both in extra time.
The Hens held the Regals scoreless in overtime as Hopkins scored at the beginning of the first overtime period. In the second overtime, setter Prater-Fahey flicked the ball to Alving-Trinh just out of reach of the Regal goalie, and Alving-Trinh finished the opportunity to secure the Sagehen victory at 9-7.
With the two wins, the Hens secured the top seed in SCIACs going into the playoff tournament next weekend, improve their overall record to over .500 and remain undefeated against SCIAC competitors and Division III foes. The Hens will play one last regular season game tomorrow at Whittier and then hope to maintain their top seed in the SCIAC tournament next weekend at Whittier.