La Verne drops its conference opener to Redlands, 19-8.
The men’s water polo team was outmatched against Redlands in its first conference game, despite a promising performance by one of its freshman.
The Leopards, who played a competitive first half, could not keep up with the high-powered offense of the Bulldogs who won the game, 19-8.
La Verne was lead by freshman utility player Arturo Villalpando who scored four goals in his first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game.
“We had one phenomenal performance today with Arturo,” said junior utility player John Roche who had two goals in the game. “He just kept putting shots away.”
“I was able to get around them on some quick moves inside and that allowed me to beat the goalie,” Villalpando said.
“He is a freshman standout player,” said head coach Alex La. “Every time we get the ball it seems he is able to make things happen. It’s really exciting we have him for four more years.”
However Villalpando’s success feel short to Redlands who set the pace early with a 5-2 first quarter lead and that momentum carried over to the second.
The Bulldogs continued its hot shooting and was able to expand the lead to 10-5 at the half.
“All in all we played a great first half, except when they scored,” La said. “And they only scored when we messed up. There were five turnovers that lead to goals in the first half.”
The Bulldogs held La Verne to just one goal in the third quarter and were able to add three to their total.
In the fourth quarter, Redlands put the game out of reach with six more goals while they only gave up two, to secure the 19-8 win.
Eleven Redlands players scored in the game, and were paced by senior John Floersch with four goals.
“It came down to who executed their shots better,” Roche said. “We need to work on controlling the ball and making smarter passes.”
“We need to clean up our game,” La said. “The mistakes that were made were our fault and with a high caliber team like that you can’t give them opportunities because they are going to put it away.”
The Leopards were back in the pool Wednesday when they traveled to Whittier for another SCIAC contest.
The Poets handed the Leopards its second consecutive SCIAC loss, 20-11.
On Saturday the Leopards will travel to Thousand Oaks to take on the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen at 11 a.m.
La Verne will begin its third straight conference road game next Wednesday against Occidental at 4 p.m., before heading home to host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Oct. 31 at 11 a.m.
Kevin Garrity can be reached at email@example.com.
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