CLAREMONT, Ca. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo team is set to defend their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SICAC) Title in 2018 as they start out their 2018 season on the road in the Lancer Invitation this upcoming weekend.
Head Coach Alex Rodriguez enjoyed his eighth SCIAC title for the women's program as he led them to a 10-1 conference record and a 9-3 rout in the SCIAC Championship over Whittier College. The Sagehens ended the year with four All-SCIAC selections and said goodbye to All-Americans Chessa Burke, Ahsha Earwood and Division III Player of the Year, Christina Williamson.
This season, the Sagehens open up their schedule against Division I powerhouse USC in the Lancer Invitational and play a strong non-conference schedule including games against UC San Diego, Cal Baptist, Harvard, Brown, CSU Monterey Bay and UC Santa Barbara. The Sagehens also co-host one of the largest water polo tournaments of the season with the annual Convergence Tournament at Haldeman Pool and Axelrood Pool beginning on the weekend of March 2nd. Directly after convergence, the Sagehens open up their SCIAC schedule with two key matches as they travel to Whittier on February 28th for a rematch of the 2017 SCIAC Championship at 7:00 p.m. and then play at home against rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on March 7th at 7:00 p.m. Pomona-Pitzer goes back-to-back with the Poets and Athenas again later in the season as the host Whittier on Mach 31st at 11:00 a.m. for their Alumni Day and turn around for the second leg of the Sixth Street Rivalry on April 4th at CMS at 7:00 p.m.
The Sagehens return one player with postseason honors in senior Jocelyn Castro who was tabbed First Team All-SCIAC and ACWPC First Team All-American honors with 44 goals and 50 points. The Sagehens return only one other senior this season in Morgan McCracken. McCracken also has All-American honors to her name as she was tabbed Honorable Mention in 2015 to go along with SCIAC Newcomer of the Year. She finished second on the team last season in points with 52 as she netted 25 goals and dished out 27 assists.
A heavy loaded junior class makes up the majority of this year's team with eight returning juniors. Among them is Natalie Hill who led the Sagehens last season with 53 points off of 28 goals and 25 assists. The Sagehens will look to their junior class to fill out minutes this season in the pool with attackers Hill, Janelle Lewis, and Anna Yu, utility players Nohea Kahaulelio and Samantha Martinez, center Kyla Pickell and defender Kahea Kahaulelio. In goal this season we will see a lot of Morgan Stockham who appeared in 15 games last season with six wins and 42 saves.
Pomona-Pitzer brings back three sophomores in Esma Dollaku, Crystal Huang and Bella Villa as well as four new freshmen in goal keeper Haley Crabtree and attackers Natasha Rosenthal, Isabel Natalia Wiesenthal and Colleen Woo.
The Sagehens begin their quest for back-to-back SCIAC Championships as they open up play this weekend in non-conference action in the Lancer Invitational.
2018 SCIAC Women's Water Polo Preseason Poll
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Pomona-Pitzer (9) - 81 points
2. Whittier - 60 points
3. Cal Lutheran - 58 points
4. CMS - 57 points
5. Chapman - 50 points
6. Redlands - 36 points
7. La Verne – 36 points
8. Occidental - 18 points
9. Caltech – 9 points