The Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team (14-7, 2-1 SCIAC) added two more wins to their record when they defeated Whittier (6-14, 0-3 SCIAC) and UC Santa Cruz (11-10) at an April 4 doubleheader. The Sagehens dispatched the Whittier Poets with ease 13-6 in the first game. The second leg of the doubleheader against Santa Cruz proved more difficult, but P-P fought their way to a 10-8 overtime win.
Janelle Gyorffy PO ’09 led the Sagehens’ offense in both matches. Against Whittier, the senior netted the first three goals of the game. She later scored one more to push her scoring total to four. Danielle Joseph PO ’10 contributed a hat trick as well.
P-P’s overwhelming offense had the game at 11-1 by the middle of third quarter. Although Whittier was able to slightly pull the score back in their favor, the Sagehen defensive was too strong, and the visiting team did not come close to equalizing.
“We rebounded well after last week’s loss to Cal Lu,” commented head coach Alex Rodriguez. “We played with a high level of intensity against Whittier,”
Having just competed against Whittier, some of the Sagehen athletes weren’t feeling in top form for that afternoon’s scheduled game against UC Santa Cruz. The home team was able to pull themselves together, though, and deal the Banana Slugs a loss.
“We dealt with adversity well against Santa Cruz,” said Rodriguez. “Some girls didn’t feel too well. Some were sore. But we played two good games that day.”
The Sagehen’s offensive success in this game was the result of a strong team effort. Tamara Perea PI ’11, Nicole Ruesch PI ’09, Joseph, and Gyorffy each scored twice.
Gyorffy, who tallied six total goals over the weekend, expressed happiness with the team’s overall performance.
“I think the games this weekend showed what this team is capable of,” the senior said. “While we were not always consistent we gave a solid effort and at times our offense and defense really clicked.”
At the end of regulation time the score stood 7-7, and the game went into overtime. In the first half of overtime, Joseph scored one of her two goals of the match. In the second half, Karen Bonner PO ’10 and Ruesch were able to finish under pressure, earning P-P the victory.
“The Santa Cruz game was more up and down,” said Gyorffy. “In the end we showed a lot of heart and pulled off the win in overtime.”
Two weekends ago, on Mar. 28, P-P opened their season with a 9-6 win against cross-street rivals CMS.
Goalkeeper Dana Kingman PI ‘11 was brilliant against CMS, making 13 saves and several steals. Her contribution on the defensive end anchored the Sagehens in this rivalry-charged match.
The duo of Ruesch and Bonner spearheaded the Sagehen offense, as they each tallied doubles in this game.
“It’s always an intense game, being CMS versus Pomona-Pitzer,” said Rodriguez. “CMS is one of the top teams in the conference. We played aggressive defense and had some good plays by some girls.”
After winning against the Athenas, the Sagehens had a close 13-12 loss against Cal Lu, which equalized their conference record to 1-1.
Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion, P-P saw excellent performances from some of its athletes. Perea had a team-high four goals. Ruesch followed closely with three.
The Sagehens played Cal Lu in last year’s SCIAC Championships. For both heavyweight teams the match was somewhat of a possible preview for this year’s finals—the score line indicating that it could be anyone’s game.
“It’s going to be a very competitive conference this season,” said Rodriguez. “There are several teams who could take the title.”
The Sagehens are scheduled to play Occidental next weekend. This promises to be a tough match for the team, as Oxy—ranked second in D-III, just behind P-P—is 11-0 at home.