Sagehens Hold Off Furious La Verne Rally For 13-12 Win

Sagehens Hold Off Furious La Verne Rally For 13-12 Win

San Diego, Calif. - The sixth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo team led La Verne 13-8 with just over 2:00 to play and hung on for a 13-12 win in the first round of the Western Water Polo Association Championships on Thursday afternoon at UC San Diego.

With the win, the Sagehens improve to 14-18 on the year and advance to the quarterfinals, where they will take on third-seeded Santa Clara on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Junior Mark Hudnall (Los Altos, Calif. - pictured) led the way for the Sagehens with four goals, and freshman Stephen Vint (El Cajon, Calif.) added three. Dan Hargis and Kyle Thorsness each had four goals for La Verne.

Pomona-Pitzer built a 7-3 lead at the half behind three Hudnall goals, as Vint capped off the opening stanza with an extra-man goal with 52 seconds left. The teams exchanged goals all throughout the second half, with the Sagehens going ahead by five goals on six different occasions, the last with 4:47 to play on the third goal from Vint, making the score 13-8.

Thorsness scored a seemingly harmless goal with 2:06 to play to cut the lead to 13-9, but the Leopards continued to put the pressure on. Tyler Hunt scored just 25 seconds later to make the score 13-10, and Hargis found the back of the net at the 1:06 mark to cut the margin to just two goals.

After Pomona-Pitzer called a timeout, La Verne got the ball back and Thorsness added his fourth goal of the game with 34 seconds left to suddenly bring the Leopards within a single goal. However, the Sagehens were able to keep the ball away for the remainder of the clock, as the Leopards were only able to draw a penalty in the final seconds.

Junior Jason Cox (Arnold, Md.) had two goals for Pomona-Pitzer, while four other players had one apiece. Sophomore Tyler Hill (Lafayette, Calif.) started in goal and had six saves for the Sagehens, while Dan Newell had four for the Leopards.

Pomona-Pitzer and Santa Clara faced each other once already this season, with the Broncos earning a 14-5 win on the final day of the So Cal Tournament on Oct. 2 at Long Beach State.