Panthers overpower Leopards in the pool

Sophomore attacker Brooklyn Young attempts to block Chapman junior attacker Jamie Chin on Saturday at Axelrood Pool in Claremont. The Leopards could not recover after the Panthers’ second quarter momentum where they scored five goals over the Leopards’ one goal, giving La Verne a 9-7 loss. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Sophomore attacker Brooklyn Young attempts to block Chapman junior attacker Jamie Chin on Saturday at Axelrood Pool in Claremont. The Leopards could not recover after the Panthers’ second quarter momentum where they scored five goals over the Leopards’ one goal, giving La Verne a 9-7 loss. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Sarah Van Buskirk
Editorial Director

Some fourth quarter momentum did not help the women’s water polo team in their 9-7 loss against the Chapman Panthers on Saturday morning at the Matt M. Axelrood Pool in Claremont, which snapped their early 3-0 record in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

“We were able to overcome the panicked style of play we used in the first 24 minutes of the game and came back to score enough to get within a two-point gap, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to bring us to 4-0 in SCIAC,” junior attacker Reiley Burton said. “I think that speaks volumes to who we are as a group.”

Burton scored five goals and continues to prove herself offensively with 31 goals so far this season. 

The unbalanced play by the Leopards in the first three quarters resulted in few shots.

Chapman freshman attacker Kendall Pappan tallied the first goal of the game on a power play assisted by junior attacker Jamie Chin from the exclusion of Leopards’ junior attacker Maya Garcia-Hale.

Sophomore attacker Maddie Grove fights off three defenders to gain possession of the ball in the 9-7 loss against the Chapman Panthers on Saturday at Axelrood Pool in Claremont. The Leopards’ defense was tight but their chaotic offensive dynamic led them to defeat. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Sophomore attacker Maddie Grove fights off three defenders to gain possession of the ball in the 9-7 loss against the Chapman Panthers on Saturday at Axelrood Pool in Claremont. The Leopards’ defense was tight but their chaotic offensive dynamic led them to defeat. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

A few minutes later Burton scored the final goal of the quarter to tie, 1-1. 

The Panthers took hold of the game in the second quarter and scored five using the Leopards’ lack of connection to their advantage. Burton and sophomore attacker Maddie Grove came together to sneak one in for the Leopards before halftime.

“We looked really unorganized, panicked and frantic today, which is not typical of this group, which makes it more frustrating,” head coach Pat Beemer said. “Our shot selection was as bad as could be…I do not know how many saves their goalie had but it feels like we hit her right at the body like 10 times.”

Chapman’s goalkeeper, senior Georgina Burton, had 13 saves on the day.

With about three minutes left in the third quarter, Chin set up the only goal of the quarter for junior attacker Alyssa Fricker on a power play to extend the Panthers’ lead to 7-2.

Three La Verne goals in a row opened up the fourth quarter, coming from graduate utility player Sumi Rudisky on a power play, as well as Grove and Reiley Burton to make the score 7-5. 

Silence fills the pool deck after a Leopard shot in hopes of a late quarter comeback Saturday morning at Axelrood Pool in Claremont. La Verne could not get the upper hand against the Chapman Panthers in a 9-7 loss. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Silence fills the pool deck after a Leopard shot in hopes of a late quarter comeback Saturday morning at Axelrood Pool in Claremont. La Verne could not get the upper hand against the Chapman Panthers in a 9-7 loss. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Rudisky said this was a mentally tough game but the team was able to come together in the end no matter what the demeanor was in the pool.

“We communicated really well on defense and played a good game defensively,” Rudisky said. “It was just unfortunate.”

Fricker followed with back-to-back retaliation goals for Chapman’s final points of the game. 

In the final two minutes, the Leopards drew three penalties with Reiley Burton converting two of the three five-meter penalty shots for the final score of 9-7. 

Junior goalkeeper Kelly Jackson said she is excited to play Chapman again because she believes the team can perform better than what was shown in this game.

“Offensively or defensively, I don’t think we were prepared,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of good pieces and we will be able to put something together next time we see them.”

The Leopards will travel to Pasadena to play the Caltech Beavers at 7 p.m Wednesday for a SCIAC match-up.

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at sarah.vanbuskirk@laverne.edu.

Junior attacker Maya Garcia-Hale looks for a pass beyond Chapman’s junior attacker Alyssa Fricker on Saturday at the Matt M. Axelrood Pool in Claremont. The Leopards lost 9-7, which brought their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record to 3-1 and overall to 4-8. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Junior attacker Maya Garcia-Hale looks for a pass beyond Chapman’s junior attacker Alyssa Fricker on Saturday at the Matt M. Axelrood Pool in Claremont. The Leopards lost 9-7, which brought their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record to 3-1 and overall to 4-8. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

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.

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