Hens Look to Bounce Back at Claremont Convergence

The defending SCIAC champion Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team returned from a tournament at California Lutheran University last weekend after having battled through four close games and emerging victorious in one. They go into their first home games for the annual Claremont Convergence tournament this weekend with a 3-5 record, looking forward to starting a strong opening at Haldeman Pool. 

The highlight of last weekend’s Posada Royale Tournament hosted by Cal Lutheran for the Sagehens was their 8-5 victory over the Occidental College Tigers. The first half of the game was a defensive battle, as Occidental led the Sagehens 2-1 at halftime. The Sagehens rallied in the third quarter, going on a 4-0 run that secured the Sagehen lead through the fourth quarter. The first three minutes of the third continued without a goal, but Alyssa Woodward PZ ’15 broke the stalemate. Chrissie Alving-Trinh PO ’15 and Mahalia Prater-Fahey PO ’15 scored the next two goals, and the Sagehens sealed the quarter with a counterattack by Alving-Trinh in the closing seconds of the quarter to make the score 5-2.

Occidental rallied in the fourth quarter, but the Sagehens were able to answer them goal-for-goal. The Tigers scored the first goal of the quarter, followed by a goal from Katy Schaefer PZ ’16. Prater-Fahey scored another in the possession immediately after a Tiger goal, and Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15 scored the last goal for the Sagehens after the Tigers scored their final goal for a final score of 8-5.

The win over Occidental was a rebound from the previous day when the Sagehens suffered two narrow losses against Azusa Pacific University and tournament host Cal Lutheran. The Sagehens took an early 4-0 lead against Azusa Pacific but could not hold on to the lead and lost 14-12 in overtime. The Sagehens bounced back from an early deficit in the match against the Cal Lutheran Regals, but the Regals managed to cling to the lead and close out the game 9-8.

This weekend, the Sagehens host the Claremont Convergence tournament, where they will face four tough Division I opponents. On March 8, the Hens face University of California, Irvine at 12:40 p.m. and California Baptist University at 6:00 p.m., two opponents they have yet to defeat. Saturday at 11:40 a.m. they see Concordia University (Calif.). In last year’s match against Concordia at this same tournament, the Hens emerged with a two-goal win. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, the Sagehens face Long Beach State University, yet another team to suffer a loss at the hands of the Sagehens.

“We play DI teams for the experience of playing good teams and learning from [that] experience,” Head Coach Alex Rodriguez said. He looks forward to the experience the Sagehens will gain going into SCIAC play this coming weekend. 

Despite the loss to fellow SCIAC opponent Cal Lutheran that broke their SCIAC winning streak, in place since 2011, Rodriguez does not feel pressured about the Sagehens’ ranking in SCIAC. 

“We’ve got a big target on our back,” Rodriguez said at the tournament. 

The Sagehens face their next SCIAC opponent on Wednesday, March 13 to start SCIAC conference play. They play against the University of La Verne Leopards, whom they beat 14-11 in the first tournament at the end of January. Immediately after the La Verne game, the Hens enter into a rematch against Azusa Pacific, where they will look to rebound from their loss in overtime last weekend.

The Sagehens have sixteen matches before the end of March, and three of those are against SCIAC foes they have already faced this season: La Verne, Cal Lutheran, and Occidental. The Sagehens look to regain their dominance over SCIAC and claim the championship title for an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament at Harvard University in May.

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