The Pomona-Pitzer men's water polo team had its most action-packed weekend of the season, playing four games in two days on Sept. 12 and 13. The Sagehens (3-3) split the games, winning two and losing two, but ended the weekend on a high note after a dramatic overtime win against the University of Redlands.
This performance at the Inland Empire Classic came after a brilliant start to the season on Sept. 5 when P-P experienced déjà vu, knocking off No. 14 Loyola Marymount University 10-9 for the second season in a row. Without their nationally acclaimed head coach Alex Rodriguez, who is on sabbatical to coach the USA Men's Junior National Team, the Sagehens are looking to capitalize on their strong group of upperclassmen returners and hoping to move toward the top of the SCIAC.
P-P looked to carry momentum from its week one upset against LMU into its third match of the season against opponent California Baptist University. However, the Hens were unable to stop the quick attack from the Lancers in the first half. The Lancers took a 7-1 lead by halftime and never let P-P get much closer, winning by a final score of 13-5.
The Sagehens had a quick turnaround, getting back into the water to face SCIAC opponent Occidental College in the afternoon. This time, the Hens found themselves dominating on the offensive side, jumping out to a 6-1 halftime lead. Utility players Adam Ward PO '19 and Max Ries PZ '19 helped bolster the offense in the first half, scoring three of the six Sagehen goals. Attacker Tommy Turner PO '17 and defender Philip Clayman PO '16 also added goals in the first quarter, while attackers James Baker PO '17, Mark Hallman PO '18 and Neil Forsythe PO '16 scored in the second half to increase the lead, ultimately sealing the 9-4 victory.
Forsythe mentioned the contributions from across the roster during the first half of the weekend.
“I noticed that more players are stepping up and contributing than in previous years, which helps spread out the workload,” Forsythe said. “I think we have great potential to be a real contender because of this.”
Going into the second day of the tournament, the Sagehens weren't worried about fatigue, despite having a smaller roster than in past seasons.
Turner noted that the Sagehens were well-prepared for any obstacle or hardship that came their way during the weekend, even “chilly” pool temperatures.
The Sagehens started off their Sunday games against last year's SCIAC champion, Whittier College, but came up short against the Poets. Despite scoring nine goals in the game, the Poets lit up the offense and put 16 goals in the back of the net.
The second game of the day against Redlands, another SCIAC challenger, was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. Down by one in the fourth quarter with under a minute to play, the Sagehens drew a five meter-penalty, with utility player Timmy Hardman PZ '17 putting it away to tie the game. In overtime, Ries was the hero, scoring with just two seconds left to earn the victory.
Hallman noted that Ries, along with the other first-years on the team, has brought much-needed talent and skill during the beginning of the season.
“They have been great additions,” Hallman said. “They've contributed a lot already, and just keep getting better.”
With a 3-3 record, the Hens are already looking more promising than their 0-8 start last season. P-P will see both Loyola Marymount and Whittier again this weekend at the LMU Mini-Tournament, where the team will look to continue its momentum and push its record above .500.