P-P Water Polo: Hens Stand Up to Stiff Competition

The Pomona-Pitzer men's water polo team had a chance to rematch two top teams last weekend in the Loyola Marymount University Mini Tournament, but was unable to come away with a victory in either. Despite holding early leads in both games and keeping the score close most of the way, the Sagehens (3-5) took losses to both tournament home team LMU (2-5) and defending SCIAC champion Whittier College (5-4) Sept. 19.

In the day's first match, P-P faced off against Whittier, hoping to pick up a victory after losing to the Poets 16-9 the week before. Defender Phillip Clayman PO '16 found the back of the net just 12 seconds into the game to give the Sagehens an early lead. However, Whittier quickly answered later in the quarter during a six-on-five situation after utility player Adam Ward PO '19 was ejected. Despite goals from hole set Nic Lanker PO '17 and attacker Mark Hallman PO '18, the Poets took over the game with their offensive rhythm. 

By the middle of the third quarter, Whittier led 9-4. However, the Sagehens would not go down without a fight and brought the drama until the very end. Down 10-7 with three minutes to go, utility player Timmy Hardman PZ '17 and Clayman each scored, bringing the Hens within a goal. The Poets' defense stayed strong in the final minute, as Whittier took the game by a final score of 10-9. Goalkeeper Daniel Diemer PZ '18 had a strong outing, notching 15 saves for the Sagehens.

“The team never gave up against Whittier and continued to play hard after tough situations,” Clayman said. “One of this team's best assets is our chemistry, and we definitely continued to show that this weekend.”

The second game of the weekend was a chance for P-P to earn a second victory against nationally-ranked Division I team LMU, after defeating them earlier in the season. The Hens were once again able to get on the board first, thanks to a pair of goals from attacker James Baker PO '17. With a 2-0 lead, P-P's defense began to slip and LMU was able to find the back of the net four consecutive times to turn the momentum of the game. LMU continued to build on its lead and never let the Sagehens get within striking distance for the rest of the match.

Diemer had another great game in-goal, but LMU's offense put 12 goals behind him by the end of the game to win 12-7. Attacker Tommy Turner PO '17, Ward, Hardman and Clayman all scored for the Sagehens in the game. With the two losses, the Sagehens' record fell to two games below the .500 mark.

“The weekend definitely featured some disappointing losses, but I know our team will be able to bounce back,” attacker Neil Forsythe PO '16 said.

P-P has no games this upcoming weekend, and the team will take full advantage of the off-week to prepare for its first home games. The Sagehens will take on a mixture of East- and West-Coast competition starting Oct. 1 in the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament, where the team will look to bring its record back over 0.500.

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