The men’s water polo team lost both games in its doubleheader Saturday at Las Flores Park, suffering a 10-6 loss against Mt. San Antonio College followed by a 13-5 defeat by No. 11 nationally ranked Princeton.
In both games the Leopards gave up early leads in which they could not recover.
“We need to come out a lot harder,” sophomore utility player Troy Williams said. “We need to communicate a lot more on offense and defense.”
In game one versus Mt. SAC, the Leopards trailed 4-2 at halftime. Senior utility player Daniel Hargis scored the first goal of the second half for La Verne, but the Leopards were outscored 6-3 for the rest of the game.
Mt. SAC sophomore drivers Nicholas Estevez and Austin Postovoit combined for six of the team’s 10 total goals.
“We definitely have to improve on the defensive aspect of the game,” junior utility player Jonathan Jarvis said.
In game two, the Tigers got off to a strong start scoring the first seven goals of the game.
La Verne did not score until the second half when sophomore driver Matthew Vega’s shot hit the back of the net.
“Playing a team like Princeton gives us a chance to play the big dogs,” Jarvis said. “It is good for us when we get into conference because we’re trying to place in the top four of the SCIAC this year.”
Counting Princeton, the Leopards have played a slew of Division I teams this season including UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Cal State Long Beach and Pepperdine.
“Playing Division I opponents gives our guys a chance to play the best,” head coach Alex La said. “It gives our guys a chance to rise to the occasion.”
With the losses, La Verne is still looking for its first win of the season.
“We’ll come together, it is just the little things right now,” La said. “Things will be crisper and cleaner. We just got to give it time.”
The Leopards will look to earn its first win of the season as they take on Penn State Erie, The Behrend College at 3:20 p.m. today at Las Flores Park as their first of three games of the Gary Troyer Invitational.
The other two games of the weekend are against Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents Caltech and Occidental.
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at email@example.com.