The Pomona-Pitzer men’s water polo team (15-7, 4-0 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) dominated the Whittier College Poets (13-10, 2-1 SCIAC) last Saturday, as the men’s water polo team took to the pool for a memorable match in celebration of the Sagehen seniors. Tensions were high, as the Sagehens had not knocked a game off the Poets in years.
Max Ries PZ ’19 and Zach Senator PO ’20 contributed pivotal goals in the first quarter, shifting the tide in favor of the Sagehens with an early lead.
Perhaps because, as Mark Hallman PO ’18 reports, “in my three years here, we had [not] beaten Whittier before Saturday.” The early lead seemed to set the Hens on fire.
Goalkeeper Daniel Diemer PZ ’18 put up a brick wall, deflecting potential goal after goal in an impressive show of athleticism and skill. Only three decisive balls were able to fly past him throughout the match. Whittier was unable to push back against the impenetrable Pomona-Pitzer defense, and while the defense kept the Poets at bay, the Hens’ aggressive offense scored again and again.
Leading scorers included Adam Ward PO ’19, Joseph Schafer PO ’20, and James Baker PO ’17, who each added two goals apiece to an impressive 10-3 final match score.
The lead was cemented after halftime, when the lead scorers, as well as Tommy Turner PO ’17 and Riley Mangan PZ ’20, doubled the team’s existing score. The Sagehens ended the day with a win under their belt—a satisfying way for the seniors to exit their last regular-season home game.
“The game was a very good win for us,” Hallman said. “Whittier's a great team.”
Hallman attributes the success to the major improvements the team has made over the last three years. The Sagehens have earned many impressive wins over teams who, Hallman states, “may have had more physical talent [than us].” Nevertheless, the Sagehens managed to succeed due to good team chemistry and an unprecedented commitment to game plan.
The team’s commitment to the game is at an all-time high, as the Sagehens work hard both in and out of the pool.
Freshman Pedro Martinez PO ’20 attributes the wins to “getting in [the] mindset of accomplishment when we enter the pool, whether it is at 6:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.” Such a mindset could, the water polo players and coaches hope, contribute to a season title.
This victory places the Sagehens in the No. 1 spot in SCIAC, with an improved 14-7 record overall and 3-0 record in conference matches. The University of Redlands (14-10, 3-0 SCIAC) sits right behind them in the standings, with Whittier College (13-10, 2-1 SCIAC) in third and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (10-12, 2-1 SCIAC) in fourth.
The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens will be back in action Wednesday, Oct. 26th, versus University of La Verne (4-15, 2-2 SCIAC), hoping to stretch out their winning streak.