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Water polo season ends on high water mark

La Verne junior center Erika Vargas tries to advance the ball as the Leopards face off against Redlands in the SCIAC Championship tournament at Las Flores Park on Friday. The Leopards lost to the Bulldogs, 17-8, in the first round. / photo by Warren Bessant

Cheryl Regan
Staff Writer

Although the Leopards lost the first two games of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship tournament, they were able to finish their season strong with a win against Caltech 13-5.

La Verne hosted the tournament on April 29-May 1 at Las Flores Park.

The Leopards were the first team to start off the tournament against No. 2 seed Redlands.

With junior center Erika Vargas’ first goal of the game, La Verne found themselves down by four after the first eight minutes, 5-1.

Redlands came right back in the second quarter bringing their halftime lead to 7-1.

“We did a lot of good things that didn’t show on the scoreboard,” head coach Alex La said. “We are a young team, it’s hard to sustain our game plan.”

At the end of the first two quarters, La Verne was trailing to the Bulldogs, 7-2, with one goal from Vargas and one goal from freshman attacker Bethie Ross.

La Verne scored three more goals in the third quarter with one goal scored by freshman center-defender Katie Lacek, and one goal from both Vargas and Ross.

The Leopards were down by five after three quarters, 10-5.

“We did well in the beginning, let up in the middle and in the end we just wanted to finish strong,” Ross said. “We tried to come back, but we were too far behind.”

The Bulldogs came back in the fourth very strong scoring four goals in the first three minutes of play taking their lead to 14-5.

La Verne scored three more goals in the quarter but could not stop Redlands, who scored three more, and were unable to catch up to the eventual SCIAC champions as they finished the game with a 17-8 loss.

“I felt like we could have gone out a little stronger on defense,” Vargas said. “We need to leave it all out in the pool tomorrow, these are our last two games.”

“After a loss we try to go in stronger than we came out last time,” Ross said. “We need to take what we learned and take it into the next game.”

Day two of the tournament was on Saturday as La Verne took on number five seed Cal Lutheran.

The Leopards came out a lot stronger in game two and found themselves only down by two after the first quarter, but fell 18-12.

Freshman attacker Alexandra Escobar scored team high four goals in the match.

Vargas and Ross were not far behind with three goals each in the match.

On Sunday, the Leopards went up against Caltech for seventh place in the tournament.

La Verne scored nine goals in the first half and held Caltech to only one goal.

The Leopards scored three more goals in the third quarter and one more in the fourth to end the game with a 13-5 victory.

Senior attacker Anjuli Palos De La Rosa and Ross each scored three goals in the match, and Alexandra Escobar and Vargas scored two.

The Leopards finished their season with a 9-22 overall record and a seventh place finish in SCIAC with a 2-8 record.

Ross was honored with Second Team All-SCIAC for her performance this season.

Cheryl Regan can be reached at

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