Claremont, Calif. - Pomona-Pitzer used a 7-0 run in the second half to turn a 7-4 deficit into an 11-7 lead and captured a 12-9 win over CMS in the regular season finale at Haldeman Pool on Saturday evening.
The win improves Pomona-Pitzer to 12-14 overall and a perfect 8-0 in the SCIAC, earning the Sagehens the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament next weekend at Whittier. The official SCIAC champion is determined by a combination of regular season and postseason results, so the Sagehens, who finished two games ahead of CMS (6-2) and Chapman (6-2) could win the championship without winning the tournament.
Junior goalie Tyler Hill (Lafayette, Calif. - pictured, photo by Becky Gaut) had a big day with 11 saves, several of which were point-blank. Junior Ryan Higgins (Orinda, Calif.) and sophomore Stephen Vint (El Cajon, Calif.) led the Sagehens with three goals apiece.
The senior class was honored before the game, and the team's three senior starters also contributed in the scoring column, as Jason Cox (Arnold, Md.) had two goals, and Cody Moore (San Dimas, Calif.) and Mark Hudnall (Los Altos, Calif.) each had one.
CMS took a 5-4 lead 18 seconds before halftime on a goal from McClatchy Ruskin, and then scored the first two goals of the second half to pull ahead 7-4 with 5:35 left in the third quarter, as Tanner Cullen and Maarten Lefor each found the back of the net.
However, the Sagehens then took the game over with seven straight goals, a spurt which was capped off by back-to-back goals from Vint at the 4:08 and 3:23 marks of the fourth quarter to put the game away. Moore started the run with a clutch goal to stop the bleeding and prevent the Stags from getting separation, and Cox knotted the score up late in the third quarter to make the score 7-7 heading into the final period.
Hudnall then gave the Sagehens the lead with 5:28 to play, the team's first lead of the game, and one which it would not relinquish, before Higgins added an insurance goal as he slipped past his defender and beat James Kelly from close quarters with 4:56 left. Vint then added his two goals, as Pomona-Pitzer scored on four straight possessions to turn a 7-7 tie into an 11-7 lead.
Pomona-Pitzer will be looking to defend its SCIAC championship this weekend at Whittier as the top seed in the tournament. It will play its quarterfinal game on Friday against the winner of the 8-9 game Friday morning. The tournament concludes on Sunday.
MEN'S WATER POLO SCORING SUMMARY
(Haldeman Pool- Claremont, CA)
Pomona-Pitzer 12, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 9
Team 1 2 3 4 F
PP 1 3 3 5 12
CMS 3 2 2 2 9
Qtr Time No. Player (School) Score
1 5:26 22 Tanner Cullen (CMS) 0-1
1 4:23 8 Ryan Higgins (PP) 1-1
1 3:53 24 John Holland (CMS) 1-2
1 0:35 5 Huston Middlesworth (CMS) 1-3
2 7:13 4 Jason Cox (PP) 2-3
2 3:14 2 Brian Baier (CMS) 2-4
2 2:55 3 Stephen Vint (PP) 3-4
2 0:34 17 Travis Larsen (PP) 4-4
2 0:18 14 McClatchy Ruskin (CMS) 4-5
3 6:23 22 Tanner Cullen (CMS) 4-6
3 5:35 10 Maarten Lefor (CMS) 4-7
3 4:40 11 Cody Moore (PP) 5-7
3 3:15 5 Jarrod Gaut (PP) 6-7
3 0:52 4 Jason Cox (PP) 7-7
4 5:28 16 Mark Hudnall (PP) 8-7
4 4:56 8 Ryan Higgins (PP) 9-7
4 4:08 3 Stephen Vint (PP) 10-7
4 3:23 3 Stephen Vint (PP) 11-7
4 2:58 5 Huston Middlesworth (CMS) 11-8
4 2:13 8 Ryan Higgins (PP) 12-8
4 2:02 22 Tanner Cullen (CMS) 12-9