Division II Competition No Problem for Sagehens

Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team won three out of four matches at the California Baptist University Lancer Invite Feb. 14 and 15 to improve their record to 6-2. 

entered the tournament on the back of a three-game winning streak, but faced a
stern test in their first match as they squared off against the tournament
hosts, Division II outfit Cal Baptist. The first half was a close encounter, and the teams entered halftime with the score at 6-6.

Cal Baptist went on to start the second
half on a scoring tear, hitting seven unanswered goals to put the game out of
reach; P-P fell 14-7. The small size of the Sagehen squad—some of its members also compete on the P-P swim team—played a part in
the defeat.

“We just got tired down
the stretch, especially because we only had two subs,” coach Alexander Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also spoke about the advantage of playing higher division teams. 

“Even if we lose games, you’re going to learn something,” he said.

Regardless, there was not much time to dwell on
the disappointing result, as the Sagehens had to recharge
to face their next opponent: the Azusa Pacific University Cougars, another DII program. 

The Cougars started the match on the front foot, keeping P-P at bay for most of
the first half and heading into the second with a 6-3 advantage. P-P
mounted a strong rally to open the second, however. Alyssa
Woodward PZ ’15 and Sarah Westcott PO ’15 led an offensive charge that saw
the Sagehens tie affairs up 8-8 with minutes to go in the third quarter. 

Cougars scored twice to edge in front during the fourth quarter, but the
Sagehens’ momentum continued to build. A solid defensive effort, anchored by
goalie Ahsha Earwood PZ ’17, led P-P to shut out Azusa Pacific in the fourth
quarter as the Sagehens once again pegged back their opponents. Westcott applied the finishing touches, scoring with just over a minute left to secure the 11-10 victory for P-P.

The Sagehens took the
momentum garnered from their rousing win into the next day’s games, which
started with a match against Fresno Pacific University, another DII school. P-P started very much on the front foot,
opening up a 7-3 lead in the second half. 

But the Sunbirds would not go
down without a fight, and scored three straight goals to bring themselves
within one point of the Sagehens with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Woodward, who had five goals in the game, and Westcott were once again crucial to P-P’s offense. The two juniors ended
the Fresno Pacific resistance by scoring the final three goals of the game to
secure the win for the Sagehens.

P-P’s final game of the invite came
against fellow SCIAC side University of Redlands, just a week after the same two teams met at the Whittier College Invitational. The P-P and Redlands matchup at Cal Baptist, like
the one at Whittier, did not count for conference standings, but gave both schools a chance to feel out a fellow SCIAC hopeful.

played each other in the last two SCIAC championships, so the emotions when we play are always a little crazier than in other games,” Rodriguez said. 

Redlands started the match stronger, finding themselves ahead 6-3 in the third quarter, but back-to-back goals from
Woodward and a third from Chessa Burke PZ ’17 tied the score. Westcott scored early in the fourth to give P-P a 7-6

Redlands drew level soon
afterwards, but neither team could make a decisive blow as regulation came to
an end and the game went into overtime. Hope Grant PZ ’17 scored in the first
overtime period, and Woodward added another in the second period to stretch the
P-P advantage to 9-7. 

Earwood had another solid performance, repelling a number of Redlands attacks, and the Bulldogs eventually ran
out of steam as the Sagehens held on for a 9-8 victory, their second tight
win that week against the team.

The Sagehens look ahead to their
next competition, the Posada Royale Invitational at California Lutheran University, in two weeks’ time.

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