Sagehens Cruise, Suspense for CMS Match Builds

The Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team took its winning streak to four games this week with
a 14-7 win over Chapman University, setting up a much-anticipated encounter with rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the
team’s final conference game. The Sagehens (19-13, 6-1 SCIAC) pulled out an
impressive performance last week to defeat previously-undefeated Whittier College on
April 9, keeping P-P up in the higher reaches of the SCIAC
standings. There was not too much time to celebrate the good result, as the team
had to turn around quickly for a game against the California Institute of Technology on Saturday, April 12.

The Beavers are currently the SCIAC’s bottom-feeders, and entered the matchup
with a 0-11 record on the season. With competition perhaps not as
formidable as Whittier, P-P used the opportunity to spread some more playing
time throughout the squad, with a variety of players putting up good
statistical performances. Leading scorer Alyssa Woodward PZ ’15 started the
game in goal, notching up four saves in the first quarter, while Vicky Gyorffy PO
’15, Mahalia Prater-Fahey PO ’15, and Sarah Westcott PO ’15 each also played a
quarter in goal. Regular keeper Sallie Walecka PO ’15 was put in the field and
scored a goal, although P-P’s main offensive efforts were spearheaded by
sisters Hope Grant PZ ’17 and Carter Grant PZ ’15, who each notched three goals on
the day. The final score was 14-1 as P-P wrapped up the routine win ahead of
the team’s final home game of the season against Chapman on Wednesday, April 16.

Before Wednesday’s match, the team took time to honor their only senior, Brenda Iglesias PO ’14. A selection to
last season’s SCIAC All-Academic Team as well as a member of the P-P swim team, Iglesias has been a consistent performer during her time as a Sagehen.

Chapman entered the game third-from-bottom in the SCIAC
standings, but P-P head coach Alex Rodriguez knew better than to underestimate

“[Chapman] went in overtime with CMS, who’s currently No. 1, and
they’ve had a lot of one-goal games,” Rodriguez said before the game. “Hopefully, we have an attitude that we need to take care of business today. I
expect a very competitive game, so hopefully we have the right energy. We have
two games before our conference tournament, so I’m hoping we can get some

Chapman certainly started the game
with a good attitude, alerting P-P to the fact that a win was far from
guaranteed. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 3-3 as the Panthers
reined in the Sagehens, who had taken the lead early against both Caltech and
Whittier in their last two games. The start of the second quarter began with the same theme before Chrissy Alving-Trinh PO ’15 fired two goals in the
dying minutes to give P-P a 6-4 lead at the half. That turned out to be the
little bit of daylight that the Sagehens needed, as the second half turned out
to be much smoother sailing for the home side. The offense was much smoother to
begin the second period, scoring with a little more ease. Westcott was
once again prominent on the offensive end, notching four goals in total, with her
regular partner in crime Woodward adding three. Alving-Trinh also ended with three.

By the end
of the third quarter, the score was 10-6, and the Sagehens seemed on the brink
of victory. Another comfortable fourth quarter saw P-P ram home another four goals, making it the second game in a row in which they scored 14 goals.

However, much
of the credit for P-P’s eventually comfortable 14-7 triumph went to Walecka,
who stifled any chance for the Panthers
to create momentum in the second half with a fine goalkeeping performance.
Eight of Walecka’s 15 saves came in the second half, including one off a
penalty shot, to keep Chapman at bay as her teammates hit their rhythm at the
other end. After displaying some of her field talents against Caltech, Walecka
turned in another good game in replacement of injured starter Ahsha Earwood PZ

“Goalie is definitely more of a mental game
than field, so it was hard going from the one scoring to getting scored on,” Walecka said.
“I’ve been having to work on staying mentally tough over the past weeks. My team has done an
awesome job stepping up the defense.”

All facets of P-P’s game will need to be fully firing when the Sagehens face CMS this upcoming weekend in a game that
could have big championship implications. The Stags are undefeated in SCIAC
play, and a win would wrap up the regular season title and give them a big boost
towards securing the overall SCIAC championship, which is calculated by
weighting the results of both the league season and the SCIAC tournament, which
takes place in two weeks’ time. A P-P win, on the other hand, would give the
Sagehens a big chance at a third-straight SCIAC title. The stakes will
be even higher than usual when the two teams play tomorrow at 11 a.m. at CMS.

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