Poets Sink Sagehens 7-6 in SCIAC Championship Game

The Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team (19-10, 10-1 SCIAC) took to Haldeman Pool for the 2015 SCIAC Championships April 24-26 in hopes of winning its fourth straight SCIAC title. 

Despite some dominant performances in
the first two days of the tournament, the Sagehens were defeated 7-6 by Whittier College (21-14, 9-2 SCIAC) in the championship game after being heavily outscored in the opening half. The loss to Whittier snapped the Sagehens’ 10-game SCIAC win streak and
ended their perfect SCIAC season. P-P’s record of 10-1 in SCIAC, however,
still technically gives them the same amount of points in the SCIAC scoring
system, so P-P will share the league title with Whittier for the
2015 season.

The Hens started the tournament looking unstoppable. In
their first game against Occidental College (4-26, 3-9 SCIAC), the Hens routed the Tigers on their way to an
18-4 win. Ten different players scored goals in the game, including hat tricks by utility player Alyssa Woodward
PZ ’15, hole set Christina Williamson PO ’17 and attacker Morgan McCracken PO ’18. The game was a relief for many P-P players who had been struggling offensively after the Hens won two close defensive battles against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (11-17, 8-3 SCIAC) and California Lutheran University (9-20, 5-7 SCIAC).

After advancing to the next round, the Hens faced Chapman University (14-15, 6-5 SCIAC) on Saturday, and sent them into the loser’s bracket with another dominant
performance. The Hens scored 16 goals in the game next to Chapman’s four to advance
to the championship game. Woodward and Williamson both had outstanding
performances again, scoring three goals apiece, while hole set Mahalia Prater-Fahey PO
’15 also led the Sagehens in scoring with a hat trick. Attacker Sarah Westcott PO ’15
added two goals in the game, her first being the 200th goal of
her career.

On Sunday, the Sagehens took on
Whittier for the SCIAC championship alongside a boisterous afternoon crowd.
Whittier startled the confident Sagehens in the first quarter, scoring two
quick goals. Woodward answered for the Sagehens at the 1:16 mark in the first
quarter to cut the deficit to one, but the Poets continued to push on offense, scoring two more goals for a 4-1 lead at the end of the first.

“We got down quickly in the
first quarter and simply weren’t able to come back,” attacker Chrissie Alving-Trinh
PO ’15 said. “What it came down to was that we had our opportunities but
weren’t able to put away our shots.”

The second quarter saw McCracken score twice, but each P-P goal was followed quickly by another Poet goal. The
Sagehens trailed 7-5 late in the game, but a Woodward penalty goal with 1:26 to go in the game gave P-P a glimmer of hope. However,
the Poets controlled the ball and ran out the clock, taking the SCIAC
championship game.

For the seniors on the team who had
already won three titles in a row, it was a disappointing loss.

“We are all obviously very disappointed that we didn’t
win the championship game,” defender Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15 said. “After going
undefeated in league play this season, we were for sure the favorites and were
looking forward to an NCAA play-in game. It was a tough loss, filled with
adversity, but sometimes those games just happen.”

The Poets will advance to the NCAA play-in game next
weekend, representing the SCIAC at the tournament. Despite the loss at the end of this
season, the Hens have full faith in the younger members of the squad to carry
the team for the coming years.

“We are all very proud of what we’ve accomplished this
season as well as seasons past,” Gyorffy said. “As a soon-to-be-alumni, I can’t wait to see what the team will accomplish in the near future as
we have so many younger and talented players returning next year.”

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