The Brown University women’s water polo team experienced mixed results during their foray to Claremont, trampling the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team (6-16, 0-3 SCIAC) 9-2 but falling 6-4 to Pomona-Pitzer (9-16, 2-1 SCIAC) on Sunday, March 26.
Four different Sagehens — Nohea Kahaulelio PZ ‘19, Jocelyn Castro PZ ‘18, Samantha Martinez PZ ‘19, and Morgan McCracken PO ‘18 — found the net for P-P. The Sagehens jumped out to a hot start and ended the first quarter up 3-0.
After a furious rally by the Bears in the second quarter, the hosts led just 4-3 at the half. Strong defense from goalie Ahsha Earwood PZ '17, who tallied seven saves for the Sagehens, shut out Brown in the final period and ensured P-P the victory.
Head coach Alex Rodriguez thought his team played well in what he called a “high stress” game, but wrote in an email to TSL that “we need to improve our composure under pressure.” Rodriguez engineered an exceptionally difficult early-season schedule for his team, who has endured crushing defeats to Division I powerhouses like University of Southern California and California State University, Northridge. His goal is to toughen them up for conference play; so far, his strategy is paying dividends — the Sagehens are 9-16 against all competition but 2-1 against SCIAC foes.
“I am very happy with our growth and development this year,” Rodriguez wrote.
Several hours later, Brown visited Claremont McKenna’s Axelrood Pool and experienced better results against the Athenas.
The Bears’ stifling defense, combined with a variety of poorly-aimed and poorly-timed shots from the Athenas, limited CMS to just one goal per half — one by Jess Gaffney CM ’18 and the other by Claire Baxter CM ’18.
That wasn’t enough to outpace Brown; the team was able to score from practically any distance and angle. Goalie Mariah Mastrodimos SC ’18 recorded just one save. The Athenas were far more unlucky on offense, bouncing their shots against every part of the post in their futile effort to even the score.
“They put us in hard situations to finish the shots, but I think one of the challenges for us was just hitting the net,” Athenas head coach Greg Lonzo said. “It just wasn’t falling our way.”
Lonzo thinks the game can serve as a learning opportunity for his squad.
“I think we’ve got to work on our shooting, obviously, get that a little bit better, but to me the biggest thing is our cohesion,” he said. “We gotta definitely get our chemistry a little bit better and finding the open spots and putting the ball away and helping out teammates by putting them in good positions to score, too.”
The Athenas next face Occidental College and Hartwick College on Saturday, April 1, while the Sagehens play University of La Verne Wednesday, March 29.