The men’s water polo team opened conference play with a 12-7 loss Wednesday afternoon against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens at Haldeman Pool in Pomona.
The loss leaves the Leopards with a 1-14 record overall and 0-1 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“We are there,” said junior driver Bosko Dimic. “We have so much emotion to win that it gets the best of us.”
The Sagehens took an early 6-0 lead halfway through the second quarter before senior two-meter Shane Hurter scored a goal to end the first half, putting the score at 6-1.
“Arturo Villalpando hit three bars in the first period,” head coach Alex La said. “One inch to the left and it could have been a totally different game.”
The Sagehens scored two more goals to take the lead 8-1.
Pomona- Pitzer continued to bring the heat early in the third period before La Verne’s junior driver Daniel Hargis managed to score at 3:17 on the clock putting the game at 8-2.
With 17 seconds left on the clock in the period, Sagehen junior attacker Ryan Higgins scored his forth goal of the night leaving Pomona-Pitzer with a 9-2 lead over the Leopards.
The Leopards offense was able to spark up in the fourth quarter of the match.
With 5:29 left, freshman utility Bryan Jimenez scored his second goal of the match leaving the Leopards down 11-4.
Hargis and sophomore driver Jon Jarvis then scored three goals in row in the quarter.
But this sudden surge was not enough to bring the Leopards all the way back.
Jimenez scored his third and final goal of the match, closing the game out at 12-7 in favor of the Sagehens.
“In sports it’s about confidence and we just lack some of that right now,” La said. “They just need to believe in themselves.”
The Leopards’ senior goalkeeper Brendon Jones was able to capture 10 saves during the game.
“It was about attitude today and we didn’t have it,” sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Hunt said.
Don’t expect this to be it for the Leopards this season.
“I think we can at least pull off three wins this weekend, coming into next Wednesday with more confidence,” La said. “I think you will see a different team, this was not our team at all today.”
“If we have good practices and come out with the right attitude the we should do good,” Dimic said.
The Leopards will compete in the Claremont Convergence Tournament, hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, this weekend.
On Saturday the action starts for La Verne at 12:40 p.m. against Mercyhurst (10-2) and continues at 4:40 p.m. against Fordham (2-13).
Sunday’s matches will be against Long Beach State (12-3) at 12:40 p.m. and Washington and Jefferson (5-6) at 4:40 p.m.
The teams’ next SCIAC game will be against Whittier at 4 p.m. Oct. 10 at Las Flores Park in La Verne.
Taylor Perez-Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.