by Matt Cresto
The women’s water polo team split four games over the weekend at the Western Water Polo Association tournament in Pomona.
The Leopards, currently ranked seventh in the USA Water Polo Division III poll, started the tournament on the wrong foot with a loss, but battled back for back-to-back wins. La Verne was not able to make it three straight as they fell in the final game of the tournament. The team’s record currently stands at 5-16 overall, 1-4 in conference.
The Leopards faced tough competition again as they played Division I and II opponents and SCIAC powerhouse Pomona-Pitzer.
The Leopards faced Cal State Bakersfield to start the tournament. The Leopards were only able to stir up four goals to the Roadrunners’ 10. Sophomore Tandis Morgan led the Leopards with four shots on goal and scored on two of them. Sophomore Summer Hammons led the team defensively with six steals.
The Leopards defense was unable to hold off Bakersfield in the second and fourth periods as they scored three and four goals in those periods.
The Leopards took on Cal State San Bernardino in their second match of the day on Saturday. The Leopards jumped out early with four goals in the first quarter and never looked backed. La Verne scored three more in the second and put the game away with another three goals in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore goalie Maria De Santis allowed only one goal late in the fourth period. De Santis had one assist and a weekend-high 10 saves.
“We came out and played really strong as a team,” said De Santis. “Overall we had a good tournament.”
Once again Morgan led the Leopards with five goals in the match. Freshman Jennifer Brady and sophomore Allison Alastuey scored twice for the Leopards. Sophomore Andrea Griffith added a solo shot to help the Leopards to a 10-1 victory.
The Leopards held their own in their third game of the tournament, defeating the University of Santa Clara 4-3 and avenging the loss from March 19 in the Claremont Tournament. Santa Clara is ranked sixth in Division III.
La Verne led 2-1 at the half. The Leopards added two more in the third along with a solo goal by the Broncos. La Verne was able to hold off a fourth quarter comeback by USC to take the win.
De Santis recorded nine saves. Griffith led La Verne with two goals, and Alastuey scored once on three attempts. Freshman driver Jennifer Brady also scored for the Leopards in the win.
The Leopards were ousted in the final game of the tournament by conference rival and fifth-ranked Pomona-Pitzer, 8-3.
De Santis once again had 10 blocks, but was unable to stop the Sagehens from scoring eight times. The Sagehens jumped out to a halftime score of 6-0.
La Verne tried to muster up a comeback in the third period, scoring three, but the Sagehens were just too much for La Verne to handle.
“We played well against all the teams except Pomona, because we came out intimidated,” said freshman Emily Tollefson.
Griffith scored twice for La Verne on eight attempts. Morgan added a goal and five steals for the Leopards.
The Leopards return home to face Cal State San Bernardino Saturday April 22 at 11 a.m.