CLAREMONT, CA – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo team remain undefeated in the SCIAC after emerging victorious in two close matches against Whittier College and University of La Verne on Saturday afternoon. Prior to the match against La Verne, seniors Natalie Hill, Kyla Pickell, Nohea Kahaulelio, Kahea Kahaulelio, Janelle Lewis, Samantha Martinez, Morgan Stockham, and Anna Yu were honored for their hard work and commitment to the Pomona-Pitzer Water Polo program.
Season Impact: The Sagehens improve to a 15-11 record overall and are 10-0 in the SCIAC.
Pomona-Pitzer 14, Whittier 13
The Sagehens survived a close battle of attrition against the Whitter Poets thanks to clutch performances by Anna Yu and Lucie Abele. The first year Abele finished the game with a team-high four goals while Natalie Hill delivered a career-high eight assists.
The first period was an even affair as both sides traded goals. Abele scored the opener off a pass by Hill a minute and 10 seconds into the game, but Teresa Marchetti of Whittier equalized 16 seconds later. Neither side would allow a big scoring run, but the Poets managed to prevail with the lead after Anastacia Gonzalez scored with 1:07 left in the period to put the Poets ahead 4-3.
The Poets extended their advantage to start the second period off a goal by Jacqueline Au, but the Sagehens refused to let the Poets pull away as Nadia Paquin scored off a pass by Hill to cut the deficit 6-4. Later, trailing 7-4, the Sagehens broke out on the offensive end as Janelle Lewis and Abele scored back-to-back off power plays to bring the Sagehens within one. Nohea Kahaulelio scored on a 5-meter penalty to tie the game, but the Poets closed the half with a go-ahead goal by Au.
The third period played out similarly as the first period, with both sides scoring sporadically and playing intense defense. Behind 10-8 with 1:41 left in the period, the Sagehens pulled within one after a huge power play goal by Samantha Martinez off a quick pass by Hill.
After trading goals for much of the fourth period, the Sagehens finally seized the momentum with 2:53 left in the match. Trailing 13-12, the Sagehens saw a shot by Nohea Kahaulelio bounce off the crossbar, but Anna Yu quickly caught the rebound and fired back past the net to tie the game. Less than 30 seconds later, Lucie Abele scored the go-ahead off a pass by Janelle Lewis. La Verne looked to tie the game in the final 40 seconds, but a timely steal by Lewis sealed the match.
Pomona-Pitzer 8, La Verne 6
The Sagehens followed up with another intense match, this time against Inland Empire neighbors La Verne. Natalie Hill once again led the offense, co-leading with Nadia Paquin with two goals, and delivering two assists. She also collected three steals.
The Leopards struck first in the opening minute with a goal by Guarina Garcia, but the Sagehens followed with a four-goal rally to build a big lead. Paquin got the scoring going, and Anna Yu and Hill followed. Paquin capped the rally with a goal with 44 seconds left to give the Sagehens a 4-1 lead.
The Leopards rallied to start the second period. After the both sides held each other scoreless in the opening three minutes, the Leopards finally broke through with two goals to come within one. With 1:25 left, Kyla Pickell scored off a pass by Hill to extend the lead 5-3, but with five seconds left the Leopards came within one again.
In the second half, Lucie Abele scored to start things off and give the Sagehens a 6-4 lead. The Sagehens tried to rally, but struggled to find the back of the net. The Leopards once again came within striking distance with a goal just 1:23 left in the period.
La Verne tied the game in the fourth period when Guarina Garcia scored her fifth goal of the day off a power play. With 4:24 remaining, Hill managed to retake the lead after scoring off a pass by Lucie Abele. Stockham made a key save during the final stretch to preserve the lead and with 30 seconds left Janelle Lewis swiped a game-ending steal and swam on a fast break. She scored on the opportunity to seal the victory.
Up Next: The Sagehens will host Cal Lutheran University on Wednesday, April 10 at 4:00 p.m.