Women’s water polo heads north

Madison Steff
Staff Writer

On Feb. 23-25, the women’s water polo team began its season competing against several Northern California schools.

After finishing in seventh place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference last season, the Leopards were looking to get on the right track for their 2007 season.

Over the weekend in Sonoma, the Leopards competed in the Seawolf Splash Tournament hosted by Sonoma State.

The University of La Verne competed in its first match on Friday against Cal Maritime in Vallejo.

They set a school record of 20 goals to win their opener.

With the final score of 20-4, junior Lindsey Watson scored the match-high of five goals and Leopards Laura Larsen and Amanda Fernandez scoring four points apiece.

La Verne goal keeper Lindsay Jones also contributed to the winning cause with seven saves in the first match of the tournament.

“It was a very positive first game,” said assistant coach Fred Sicard.

Unfortunately in the next three matches, La Verne was defeated by Division I University of the Pacific, 14-7, and Division II teams Cal State Monterey Bay, 9-6, and Sonoma State, 11-8.

In game two of the tournament, Larsen added another two goals to her total as well as four more goals combined by Watson and freshman Mahina Reyes.

In the third game, La Verne was led by juniors Jen Aguilar and Katie Watkins, who each had two goals against Pacific.

Jones also tallied her most saves against the Tigers with a total of 14.

In the final match against Sonoma State, Fernandez and Watson each scored a hat trick in the loss. Goals were also scored by Aguilar and Larsen in the losing effort.

“I felt with each game, as a team we improved,” Larsen, a junior liberal studies major, said.

After losing four seniors last year including Division III All-American Kristin McKown and adding a few fresh new faces, the team is still learning and growing as a whole.

“Seeing a team full of newcomers, we did well,” Watson, an environmental biology major, said.

Through the weekend, the Leopards scored a total of 41 goals and only allowed 38.

Watson led the way for the Leopards scoring a total of 10 goals with Fernandez and Larsen not too far behind with eight goals apiece and junior Jen Aguilar with six.

Reyes and junior Katie Watkins each scored four goals and sophomore Melinda Fairman scored one.

Sophomore goal keeper Lindsay Jones did her part to help out the Leopards by blocking 40 goals throughout the weekend.

“If we continue to work together and games continue as they are we can only go up,” Larsen said.

The squad plans on improving both its offensive and defensive playing throughout the season in hopes of many more wins.

“They have a bright future,” Sicard said.

This weekend, the women’s water polo team will compete in the Lancer Invitational hosted by Cal Baptist in Riverside beginning today at 11:15 a.m.

The Leopards expect to face similar teams in ability and skill in their upcoming tournament as well.

Among some of the teams are Leopards are scheduled to play include Chapman and tournament host Cal Baptist.

They will then return to La Verne for their first home match of the season on Mar. 14, against Macalester.

Following that, the women will compete in the Claremont Tournament at Claremont March 17-18.

On March 24 at 11 a.m., the Leopards will compete in their first SCIAC match at Whittier.

Madison Steff can be reached at msteff@ulv.edu.

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