Women's Water Polo: Sagehens Prepare For SCIAC Title Run In 2017

Women's Water Polo: Sagehens Prepare For SCIAC Title Run In 2017

CLAREMONT, CA.—The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo team is set to begin there 2017 schedule this weekend in Santa Barbara.

Head Coach Alex Rodriguez is back to coach the Sagehens in 2017 after taking a year-long sabbatical to coach Team USA in Rio this past summer. Rodriguez returned in the fall and earned SCIAC Coach of the Year honors for the men's program and led the team to an NCAA Tournament appearance where they were defeated by the now National Champion California Bears.

The Sagehens are poised for a big season as they return 16 players from last year as well as some key returning starters. Pomona-Pitzer also returns three All-Americans in senior Ahsha Earwood, junior Jocelyn Castro and senior Christina Williamson from a season ago.

Earwood and junior Morgan Stockham lead the Sagehens in goal this season. Earwood is coming off of back to back All-American seasons as a goalie and tallied 188 saves a season ago, which was a career-high for her during her junior year. Stockham also saw time in goal last season for the Sagehens as she tallied 40 saves throughout the regular season.

Pomona-Pitzer also returns four of its top five goal scorers from a season ago. Castro returns as the Sagehens' top scorer last season as she tallied a team-high 37 goals. Just behind Castro is returning attacker and former All-American Williamson who scored 31 goals last season.

Also helping out on the offensive end is junior Morgan McCracken who found the net 29 times last season and was SCIAC Newcomer of the Year and ACWPC Honorable Mention All-American during her freshman campaign.

Sophomores Anna Yu, Natalie Hill and Kyla Pickell help round out the offense as each of them had notable freshman seasons as they scored 23, 20, and 14 goals, respectively. Sophomores Janelle Lewis, Maddie Kauahi and junior Erica Halaszynski will also work their way into the offense this season to provide the Sagehens with depth in their attacking front.  

Helping out on the defensive side of the pool will be seniors Chessa Burke and Hope Grant as well as sophomore UT's Nohea Kahaulelio, Kahea Kahaulelio and Samantha Martinez.

Pomona-Pitzer brings in four incoming freshman this season that will work their way into the lineup in Bella Villa, Sasha Newton, Esma Dollaku and Crystal Huang.

Pomona-Pitzer ended its 2016 season with a 14-16 overall record and 9-2 in conference play. The Sagehens finished the SCIAC Tournament in third place after defeating Redlands 8-6 in the third place match.

The Sagehens start out their 2017 regular season schedule with a double header at the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invitational against UCSB and University of the Pacific at 2:50 p.m and 6:00 p.m.