Claremont, CA. - The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo program closed out the second day of the Convergence with a pair of close losses that could have gone either way. The Sagehens fell to Cal Baptist in a tight 7-6 loss before losing to No. 16 UC Santa Barbara in sudden death 8-7. Despite the tough losses, there were plenty of positives to take away from the matches as the Sagehens prepare to resume the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season.
Cal Baptist def. Pomona-Pitzer 7-6
The opening match of Saturday's doubleheader was a gritty defensive battle for the Sagehens as neither sides were willing to surrender easy shots and combined for 26 exclusions. Kahea Kahaulelio and Morgan McCracken co-led the Sagehens with two goals each and Morgan Stockham collected eight saves at the post.
Cal Baptist looked aggressive at the start of the match, applying pressure on the offensive end to take an early lead. Morgan Stockham played impressively in the first period, reading the Lancers' offense and preventing several open shots, collecting five saves in the first period. However, the Lancers managed to take a 2-1 lead to close the period.
The Sagehens' offense looked more alive in the second period, creating more scoring opportunities. However, the offense could not catch a break, firing shots off the crossbar or into the keeper's hands. Trailing 3-1 with 3:39 remaining, Kahea Kahaulelio brought the Hens within one off an open shot. The Hens held off the Lancers as they closed the half trailing 3-2.
Anna Yu brought the game to level in the third period. After CBU turned the ball over on an offensive foul, Anna Yu took advantage of the counter attack with a shot from distance. The ball ricochet off the top crossbar and fell into the goal to make it 3-3. The Lancers almost responded immediately with an open shot at point blank on the counter, but Stockham reacted quickly by mauling the shot down. Unfortunately, Vickie Ochoa netted twice for the Lancers to build back the lead. Bella Villa fired a skip shot with 3:57 left in the period to bring the Hens within one, but the Lancers closed out the period with another goal to lead 6-4.
Kahea tried to rally the Hens back in the game in the final period, bringing the Hens within one with a rocket from distance to the top left of the net with 2:53 left. Pomona-Pitzer made adjustments on defense, pressuring Lancers on their own half of the pool to burn the shot clock and deny any build up play. Despite, the adjustments the Sagehens couldn't rally back to victory as Cal Baptist held on to a 7-6 victory.
No. 16 UCSB def. Pomona-Pitzer 8-7 (SD)
The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo nearly secured an upset over No. 16 UC Santa Barbara to close out the Convergence, falling in sudden death 8-7. Morgan McCracken led the Hens with three goals and snatched two steals while Natalie Hill created three assists. Both Morgan Stockham and Haley Crabtree performed phenomenally at goal, making eight saves each.
The Gauchos exploited some gaps in the Sagehens' defense early in the opening period, taking a 3-1 lead with 4:52 remaining in the period. With 1:57 left in the period, Jocelyn Castro managed to bring the Hens within one thanks to a pass from Hill.
Frustrations mounted in the second period as the Gauchos' defense refused to give the Hens any leeway and grinded out two goals to lead 5-2 at halftime. However, at the start of the third period, the Sagehens made several adjustments to break past the UCSB defense. Janelle Lewis broke the silence with 6:08 remaining, sneaking in front of the net and catching a pass from Hill for a point-blank goal. McCracken followed up with a rocket on a power play to bring the Hens back within one. The third period ended in the Gauchos' favor 6-5.
In the final period, McCracken came through in the clutch, firing a laser from a distance off a pass from Lewis to tie the game. The two teams remained deadlocked until the end of regulation. At the start of first overtime, Nohea Kahaulelio scored on the counterattack, catching an outlet pass and converting the one-on-one opportunity to put the Hens ahead 7-6. The Gauchos responded with a game-tying goal in second overtime, sending the match to sudden death.
One minute into sudden death, the Sagehens nearly got the golden goal as Castro caught an outlet pass on the counter attack and fired at the one-on-one opportunity. However, her shot missed the post. With two seconds left in the game, the Gauchos sealed the deal thanks to a goal by Kate Pipkin.
Up Next: The Sagehens will host cross-street rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m.