The Pomona-Pitzer men’s water polo team upset No. 14 Santa Clara University to claim their most impressive win of the season, after taking down Caltech earlier in the day on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Haldeman Pool. The Sagehens opened the doubleheader by topping Caltech by a comfortable 16-9 tally. In the second game of the day, P-P beat the 14th-ranked team in the nation by a final score of 10-5. The Sagehens are now 4-1 in SCIAC and 8-19 overall.
Senior caption Robert Chew PO ’14 helped the Sagehens grab a quick lead against the Caltech Beavers, after the day started with a tribute to P-P seniors. Chew notched an early goal before four more P-P scores gave the Hens a quick 5-0 lead. After a Caltech goal, Tommy Turner PO ’17 scored two straight, giving the Sagehens a 7-1 edge. After Caltech began to mount a comeback, closing the gap to 9-5, the Sagehens put the game away with a 4-1 run before closing out the 16-9 win. 11 different Sagehens scored in the match, and Kyle Van der Linde PZ ’15 led the way with a hat trick.
“The win against Santa Clara was huge for us. First, it was our first win against a major top-20 opponent. Second, it was a really special moment to get such a big win on our Senior Day,” Chew said. “It was one of the first times that the whole team came together to accomplish such a commanding win over a ranked opponent. Now that we know what we are capable of, we have no excuse not to execute that level of play the rest of the season.”
In the second game of the day, P-P took on Santa Clara University for the second time this season. Late in the low-scoring first half, the Sagehens found themselves tied 3-3. With under a minute left, James Baker PO ’17 and Stephen Vint PZ ’15 each scored a goal before the Broncos scored as time expired, giving the Hens a one-goal lead going into halftime.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the Sagehen offense exploded and scored four straight goals. Baker led the charge with a goal on a penalty shot, followed by a goal from Travis Larsen PO ’15 and another one from Vint. Behind a stellar defensive performance and the goaltending of Ethan Prater-Fahey PO ‘17 and Tyler Hill PO ’14, the Sagehens upset the Broncos by a final score of 10-5.
On Wednesday, the Sagehens built on their success against Santa Clara by beating Chapman University in an overtime thriller, 14-13. Both teams came out strong and battled for the duration of the game, with neither team able to break away in regulation, although Chapman led for much of the second half. Prater-Fahey again came up big for P-P, saving a late Chapman shot with ten seconds to go in regulation to send the game to overtime. In extra time, Baker scored to put the Hens ahead, only to see the Panthers fight back yet again to knot the score at 13-13. After going scoreless for the rest of the first extra period, Gaut scored the go-ahead goal with 1:22 left in the game. This time, the Panthers couldn’t claw their way back. A last ditch effort by Chapman hit the post and stayed out of the goal as the Hens held on for the 14-13 victory.
One week previously, P-P took on the Whittier College Poets in their third league game of the season, Wednesday, Oct. 30, losing their first SCIAC game when the Poets prevailed 12-8.
With an impressive offensive showing in the first half, the Poets went up by a score of 7-3. Early in the third quarter, Whittier scored two straight goals to increase its lead to 9-3. However, the Sagehens battled back, led by a huge offensive performance from Jarrod Gaut PZ ’14. Gaut rattled off three straight goals for the Hens to decrease the margin to only three goals. Two more Sagehen goals early in the fourth quarter brought the score to 10-8. Two late Whittier scores put the game just out of reach, however, and the Hens lost 12-8. Gaut led all Hens scorers with four goals, while Clayton Hardman PO ’15 and Vint each scored two of their own.
After the game, Chew lamented the team’s slow start to the game.
“We came out slow and let them control the momentum,” Chew said. “After the first quarter we were stuck playing catch-up the rest of the game. Unfortunately, even after a late momentum shift in our favor, we weren’t able to turn the tides and come back for the win. We look forward to the chance to see them again in the tournament.”
After the 3-1 record on the week and the upset over No. 14 Santa Clara, the Sagehens are looking to carry their momentum into the final part of their season, in which they will take on four more league opponents. P-P’s next game will be against rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Saturday at 7 p.m. Both teams have SCIAC title aspirations for the season—and in a very competitive conference, every game matters.