The women’s water polo team did not score in the third quarter, as it suffered a 17-4 loss to UC San Diego in the fourth game of the Claremont Convergence Tournament Saturday at Haldeman Pool.
The tournament included top teams and La Verne came out winning one out of four games.
“UC San Diego is a very strong Division I team, they’re fully funded and they get to train year round,” head coach William Rodriguez said. “It was a tough loss, however, there’s still things we need to work on and we look to improve on these things before the end of the season.”
The Leopards scored first on a 6-on-5 opportunity, as junior center Catie Tuning found junior attacker Lora Marquez-Salgado open for a shot, 1-0.
The Tritons answered right back as junior attacker Julia Kirkland made in a shot past freshman goalkeeper Hailey Westwood to tie the game at one.
UCSD continued to shoot past La Verne, taking a 4-1 lead midway through the first.
With less than a minute left, junior defender Kendrea New scored for the Leopards to cut the deficit in half, 4-2, but UCSD answered right back with a rebound shot made by sophomore center Lauren Boyer.
“We need to start strong and end stronger,” sophomore center Megan Little said. “But we’re definitely getting better.”
The Tritons scored three goals in the first two minutes of the game by Boyer, junior attacker Laurel Kistler and freshman defender Kayla Fedler, 8-2. Midway through the first half of the game, Little found an opening and scored past UCSD defenders, 8-3. This was the only goal for the Leopards in second quarter of the game.
La Verne senior defender Jacqueline Rojas, Marquez-Salgado and Little attempted to make goals, but failed to do so.
“Offense needs improvement, we have to get some goals in and defensively we need to be faster,” Little said.
Entering the second half of the game, down 9-3, both teams battled to shoot on first possession.
Midway through the third, UCSD managed to get in double digits after a score from junior attacker Emma Sasson, 10-3.
Back-to-back shots by the Tritons allowed them to take control of the game.
La Verne found themselves in a battle, as the Tritons held the Leopards from scoring and were in the lead, 13-3, heading into the final quarter of the game. To start the fourth, senior attacker Andie Nishimi scores with an assist by sophomore attacker Connie Wu, 14-3, with 7:36 on the clock.
The Tritons continued to execute over the struggling Leopards and dominated the quarter once again.
With 4:20 left in the game, Fedler scores with an assist by senior attacker Jolene Guiliana, 17-3.
The Leopards managed to score one more time in the game from Little, with an assist by senior defender Sarah Jefferis, 17-4.
La Verne rushed to get up on the board to cut the score a little closer, but fell short of doing so, resulting in the loss.
“Just thinking of how they’re completely funded and they practice all year round, I’m really proud of how we did and how we kept up with them for a while,” Jefferis said. “It’s just like little things that we have to work on to be able to compete at a higher level.”
The team defeated Caltech in the first game of the tournament, 16-5.
“It was good, we got our first win of the year and we had a really good game in our second game, despite the results,” Rodriguez said.
Later that day, the Leopards could not hold the fire, as they lost, 12-7, to Sonoma State.
In the third game, the team lost, 11-8, to Concordia.
“We beat Caltech, but we could’ve beat Concordia but just one quarter completely took it away for us but we did extremely well,” Jefferis said.
The Leopards dominated Penn State-Behrend Wednesday at the La Verne Aquatics Center, 15-2.
“We need to improve on definitely conditioning,” Rodriguez said. “We have to get a little quicker and we got to be able to last and play intense. Not two quarters but four quarters.”
The team is 2-7 overall on the season and have not yet begun Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
“I feel like we’re gonna go up so it’s good to hear and good to see our improvements throughout the season as it progresses,” Jefferis said.
The team will face St. Francis of New York at 11 a.m. Monday at La Verne Aquatics Center.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com.