With little time to practice, the men’s water polo team has had a rough time opening up this season.
The Leopards have already played in two tournaments – the Inland Empire Tournament and Triton Invitational – this season where they played Division I teams like Air Force, UC San Diego, Loyola Marymount and Concordia.
Although they have played teams in higher divisions, the team feels as though they have done well.
La Verne went 2-5 during the Inland Empire Tournament beating Caltech and Occidental.
Freshman Ryan Stanley led the Leopards with seven goals in the tournament.
The Leopards were the co-host of the Inland Empire Tournament and took on Vanguard, Caltech, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Occidental and Concordia.
“We performed well, just not to our best ability,” said freshman driver Max Brown. “We still need to work on our six-on-five offense and our counterattacks need to be stronger.”
Taking on Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponent Caltech, La Verne got out to a quick start with an 8-1 lead in the first quarter.
The Leopards would score seven more goals in the second quarter in the 20-5 win over the Beavers, which was the team’s best game of the tournament.
La Verne had a slightly harder time with Occidental, but they were able to come out on top with a final score of 8-5.
During some parts of the tournament the La Verne was not in sync and did not come together as a team, and it has been noticed by coaches and players
The team has not worked together too long and it has showed in their performance. The team needs to work together if they want to have a goo season
“The guys needs to develop their chemistry together,” said Alex La, third year head coach. “We have only had a chance to practice eight times so far, but once we come together we will be in great shape.”
“They played sloppy and didn’t make the best passes,” freshman women’s water polo player Katie Lacek said. “They need to develop some type of chemistry because they were not on the same page.”
“Not having a real team chemistry led to our loss against Vanguard,” Brown said.
The Leopards lost in a close battle against the Lions with a final score of 10-9.
Aside from not being on the same page, the Leopards have had to face very stiff competition playing Division I teams.
“Nothing went wrong in our games, we are just playing D-1 teams,” La said.
The team finished the two tournaments with a final record of 2-7. La Verne lost all four matches at the Triton Invitational in San Diego.
Scoring only a total of 16 points, while their opponents scored a total of 73.
On the positive side, senior goalie Alan Navarez saved 21 goals, while freshman goalie Joseph Lamson got a total of 19 saves.
They believe that their performances will be much better when conference play begins Oct. 16 against Redlands.
Brown said that the team is now stronger than last year because they have much more experience coming off of two tournaments.
Last year’s team finished in seventh place in conference play and plans on improving that a lot this season.
The Leopards will head to Orange on Saturday to take on Chapman and Whittier.
Justin Davis-Battle can be reached at email@example.com.