Sarah Van Buskirk
In the past six games, the men’s water polo team have commanded a 4-2 record, increasing their win total after an 18-8 victory against the Caltech Beavers on Oct.18 at the La Verne Aquatic Center.
“Learning to win is a thing and it’s a hard lesson to learn,” head coach Pat Beemer said. “Losing is habitual, winning is habitual. We like to have better habits so I think this game helped with that.”
This was a well-rounded team effort as seven of the 10 Leopards added to the scoreboard.
Veteran senior center Peter Trinh generated seven goals for La Verne. Freshman attacker and standout player Jordan Baker deposited four goals against the Beavers. Another key freshman attacker, Nicolo Buono, executed two goals, along with clutch players like junior center David Gutierrez, sophomore utility player Jaden Jaiver and junior defender Sawyer Nering, who all scored points versus Caltech.
The Leopards’ offense were not the only ones to contribute to the win as junior goalkeeper Eric Bates finished with seven saves and a steal. Baker carried out five steals and Nering snagged two steals. Junior defender Ryan Beery stole two from the Beavers, while Buono and Trinh each took a scoring opportunity away from Caltech.
“I think our defense was pretty solid and we finally got into that rhythm in the second half,” Buono said. “And then our offense comes from that.”
There was a sluggish energy during the first quarter for the Leopards, with the floating thought of Caltech being last place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the back of their minds.
That spirit was quickly corrected as the Leopards gained confidence in their own play dynamic.
“Every game we played, we don’t like to undermine our opponents because we tend to play down to their level if we try to over assume or be overconfident before the game,” Trinh said. “I think we saw a little of that today in the first quarter where we came out lackluster and our energy was not there but we were able to pick it up and maintain for the rest of the game what we do best.”
The Leopards controlled the water, taking each initial sprint with dominance and ending each period with the game in their hands for a final score of 18-8.
“I think the biggest thing we learned from this game was not to take any game slow,” Baker said. “I know we play Whittier again who we already beat (15-10) so we don’t want to go into that thinking they aren’t good.”
La Verne then started a three-game SCIAC road series with No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday morning as they fell, 14-10. The Leopards were down 10-3 at halftime but had a period of eagerness to come back in the fourth quarter as they out-scored the Sagehens, 4-1.
The Leopards traveled to Los Angeles on Wednesday to take on the Occidental Tigers where they took charge of the first quarter and tied the second and fourth quarter. However, in the third quarter the Tigers had the leg up resulting in a close 14-13 win for Occidental.
Saturday morning, they will face No. 2 Redlands in Bulldog territory before heading home to take on No. 4 Chapman at 11 a.m. Nov. 4 at the La Verne Aquatic Center.
After the Panthers’ visit, the Leopards will have two more SCIAC games in hopes of moving up into fourth place in the standings to make a postseason appearance.
La Verne is No. 7 in the SCIAC standings with a conference record of 2-6 and overall record of 5-17.
Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.