The Pomona-Pitzer men's water polo team looked like two completely different teams over two vastly different game days this past week. On Saturday, Oct. 31, P-P traveled to the University of Redlands (13-12, 4-2 SCIAC) where it locked itself in an impressive defensive battle with the Bulldogs, but couldn't fire up its struggling offense to pick up a victory. Then, on Wednesday, Nov. 4, P-P (10-13, 2-3 SCIAC) hosted games against the California Institute of Technology (7-14, 0-5 SCIAC) and Chaffey College (12-14) at Haldeman Pool and had a historic offensive explosion, scoring a combined 40 goals in the two matches.
Against Redlands, neither P-P nor the Bulldogs could score in the first two quarters of the game. Despite some open looks on goal for Redlands, goalkeeper Daniel Diemer PZ '18 made impressive saves to keep the game tied 0-0. In the third quarter, both teams looked to find their rhythym. Redlands put up three goals in the quarter, while P-P began to answer back with goals from attacker James Baker PO '17 and utility player Timmy Hardman PZ '17.
However, after these two goals, P-P once again slipped into an offensive lull while Redlands put two more points on the board. The Bulldogs ended up winning the game 5-2 to give the Sagehens their third-straight conference loss.
“We came out hard on defense, shutting them out for the first half,” Diemer said. “But the game slipped away from us in the third when Redlands converted a few goals while we still struggled on the offensive end.”
After their offensive struggles, P-P looked to turn the team around on Wednesday at home, and did exactly that. After an early goal by Caltech, the Sagehens exploded onto the scene with eight goals in the first half, each coming from a different player. In the second half, P-P held the Beavers to just two more goals, while defender Phillip Clayman PO '16 and Baker led the offense for the rest of the game. Clayman finished with five goals while Baker added four.
Despite what looked like a once-in-a-season offensive output, the Hens jumped back into the pool two hours later to score even more goals against Chaffey College. Nine different Sagehens scored goals in the game en route to a stunning 22-5 victory. Already with six goals in the game and a comfortable team lead, Clayman switched caps at the end of the third quarter and tried his hand at goalie. Clayman recorded three saves in the final quarter, showing off his skills in goal. Utility player Adam Ward PO '19 and Baker both scored hat tricks in the game, helping the Sagehens to their combined 40 goals on the day.
Mark Hallman PO '18 described the Sagehen's offense as “explosive.”
“We came out and did exactly what we needed to do to put these two teams away,” he said. “It was a good change of pace for the team, and it's what we want to continue doing going forward.”
Next up, the Hens will travel down Bonita Avenue to take on the University of La Verne (6-15, 2-3 SCIAC) on Saturday, Nov. 7. Currently 2-3 in SCIAC, the Hens could reach the .500 mark with a win.