The men’s water polo team suffered a big 15-4 loss against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener Wednesday night at the Axelrod Aquatics Center in Claremont.
The Leopards came in hungry, as they stole the ball from the Stags frequently and blocked their many goal attempts.
However, this was not enough, as sophomore attacker Will Clark scored the first goal to put the Stags on the board.
La Verne’s energy did not falter, as they pushed back harder resulting in a goal from sophomore center Michael Staine.
The score showcased incredible teamwork from the Leopards.
The first period was neck and neck as the score remained even up until the last minute when the Stags scored another goal, putting them in the lead with a score at 3-2 by the end of the first period.
The second period was action packed for the Stags, scoring five goals with some great plays putting the score at 9-3.
The Leopards kept up offensively in the first couple of minutes, but struggled to keep up with Claremont’s defense in the middle of the period.
La Verne made several shots on goal, but the team was only able to score one against the Stag’s solid goalkeeper, sophomore Matt Tran.
The tension built as head coach Pat Beemer called a timeout for La Verne.
“Honestly I was a little frustrated because we had so many chances to score but kept turning it over,” Beamer said.
In the second half, La Verne took more risks offensively. They made more goal attempts earning cheers and applause from the partisan Leopard audience.
However, there was also a little frustration from the audience because of the lack of a team dynamic and effort that is unusual for the men’s water polo team.
The fight went on as La Verne struggled offensively. The final period had many goal attempts from La Verne, but Claremont’s defense proved to be stronger, resulting in the many turnovers that would plague the Leopards.
The team picked up the pace defensively with a few big blocks from sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Lehotsky.
However, the game ended with a few more offensive errors costing the Leopards the game 15-4.
After the game, the Leopards returned in their huddles with a heavy feeling of disappointment and eagerness to discuss what happened at the game.
“We missed a lot of opportunities,” freshman attacker Gage Unsoeld said. “We need to take more pride in our defense.”
The team showcased regret in the way they played the game. However, their determination did not falter. Unsoeld made it clear that their goal is to win the next game.
Rex Sample, senior defender, reflected on the game and admitted that missed a few marks they should have made as team. However, he has high hopes for the next game and for the team’s dynamic as a whole.
“We’re gonna come out with a different mentality, like we’re gonna bust someone in the face,” Sample said. “We’re gonna make that first stop and come out on the top in the end.”
With the loss the team drops to a 3-6 overall record.
The men’s water polo team are playing at home against Occidental at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Deja Goode can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.