The women’s water polo team earned its second win of the season, defeating the Concordia Eagles, 9-7, Saturday at the La Verne Aquatics Center.
The team is now 2-0 overall and have not begun Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. “I’m happy that we got the win, it’s a great way to start the season,” head coach William Rodriguez said. “Starting with a big bang, and having two wins in a row, which I think it’s been a while since we’ve done that in the women’s program, is great, so I’m very happy with that.”
The Leopards started off the game with goals by seniors center Catie Tuning and driver Katie Stenicki and shutting out the Eagles, 2-0.
Concordia got on the board in the second quarter with a 6-on-5 opportunity, 2-1.
La Verne answered back, as junior utility Salena Zapata scored with the assist of senior utility Emily Randall, with 6:11 left in the second.
Zapata finished the game with two goals.
The Eagles managed to get within one after another 6-on-5 opportunity, as junior utility Emily Varisco scored past La Verne junior goalkeeper Cambria Serrano, 4-3, with 26 left in the half.
As the clock ran out before halftime, Leopards junior center Megan Little scored past sophomore goalkeeper Madelynn Knust to put La Verne up by two, 5-3.
In the third quarter, La Verne freshman attacker Guarina Garcia came out splashing, as she scored three of the four goals for the team.
Garcia and Tuning started the quarter strong, with back-to-back goals.
With a 6-on-5 opportunity for the Leopards, Garcia made a no-look shot for another goal, with 4:58 left in the third, 8-3.
The Eagles found some momentum, after freshman attacker Madi Sturgis score with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Garcia answered back, as she scored on a fast break, 9-4.
She finished the game with three goals.
Though, with 48 seconds left in the third, Varisco scored for the Eagles, 9-5. La Verne was shut out in the fourth quarter, as Concordia scored two goals off of turnovers.
“We had too many turnovers that cost us goals, but we’re gonna work on it in the following games,” Garcia said.
Despite this, the Leopards pushed their defense to hold on to the win.
It is only the second game, and the team is still finding a rhythm, but coach Rodriguez is hopeful that they will have it all figured out throughout the season.
“We definitely need to work on our passes,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’re still a brand new team, we’re still getting to know each other and we need to condition a little more, but we will have everything together.”
The season has only just begun for the team, but Garcia is optimistic on the season.
“I think we’re going to win SCIAC,” Garcia said. “We have a good team. We have good defenders, drivers, goalies. We’re complete, and so I just have a good outlook on this goal.”
La Verne hits the pool once again this weekend at the Claremont Convergence Tournament.
The Leopards begin the tournament against UC San Diego at 11:20 a.m. Friday at Axelrod Pool in Claremont.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com.