The men’s water polo team defeated Gannon, 17-13, in game three to cap off the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament Saturday at the La Verne Aquatics Center.
It was a back-and-forth battle, with multiple penalty calls on La Verne, but the Leopards managed to outplay the Golden Knights.
“It was a good win. Winning is always good,” head coach William Rodriguez said. “We were able to connect in all aspects and that really motivated us.”
Junior driver Bryan Jimenez scored first for the Leopards, with an assist by junior driver Viken Huening with 5:48 left in the game.
“We started off slow in the game but managed to get refocused and get back to get that win,” senior goalkeeper Daniel Newell said.
Gannon kept the score close, with goals made by senior driver Raz Yuval and sophomore defender Marko Sadikovic.
Every time the Golden Knights scored, La Verne answered back.
Goals made by Huening, freshman driver Joshua Vega and senior driver Jonathon Jarvis allowed the Leopards to stay within one point of the Golden Knights.
“Offense kept together but our defense still needs some adjusting and a bit of work,” junior driver Matt Vega said.
The defense tried to keep it together but penalties did not go in the way for the Leopards.
Huening, Jarvis and Matt Vega were out by midway through the third quarter.
Huening finished the game with three goals.
“We didn’t play as good as we thought because the score shouldn’t have been that way,” Josh Vega said. “It’s a win, but I felt we could have done better.”
The Leopards continued to dominate as Jimenez scored a goal, with an assist from junior driver Troy Williams, giving the Leopards a lead of 14-9 with 3:08 left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, La Verne swept past Gannon, preventing them from scoring.
With 1:57 left in the game, Jimenez scored the final goal for the Leopards, ending the game, 17-13.
Jimenez finished with five goals.
“There is always room for improvement and more on what we want to accomplish,” Rodriguez said. “We need to limit the opposite team to score less and finish our counterattacks.”
The team also defeated Penn State-Behrend, 19-6, and faced a tough loss to MIT, 15-7, in the first day of the tournament.
La Verne scored the first 10 goals against Penn State-Behrend.
Jarvis had a match-high of five goals.
“The win came quite easy for us,” Josh Vega said. “We came out stronger than them and executed our game plan.”
MIT went on a 5-0 run and took a lead of 8-2, ultimately outscoring the Leopards.
“We challenged a very good MIT team, who was very motivated and executed well,” Rodriguez said.
The Leopards also defeated Division I Fordham in a close game of 8-6, on the second day of the tournament.
Williams, Jimenez and Huening scored three unanswered goals in the third quarter to give the Leopards a lead, 7-4.
“As a team, the win is good for us and we’re learning more on how to work on the things that need work,” Newell said.
The team is now 6-10 overall.
“Without a doubt, we need to limit scoring,” Matt Vega said. “We are giving up too many goals and it’s something we need to get better on.”
The Leopards will begin Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Oct. 18 at the La Verne Aquatics Center.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.