CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo Team capped off Senior Day the best way possible sealing first-place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. After taking time before the game to honor seniors Daniel Diemer and Mark Hallman, the Sagehens battled through a hard-earned 8-4 victory over Chapman University to take the regular season title. Later in the day, the Sagehens followed up with a 16-6 victory over Caltech to conclude the regular season.
Season Impact: With the two victories, the Hens finish the regular season 22-10 overall and 13-1 in the SCIAC. Sitting in first place in the SCIAC, the Hens will start the SCIAC Tournament with the top seed.
Sagehens def. Chapman 8-4
Adam Ward and Jacob Niskey co-led the Hens with two goals apiece while Noah Sasaki and Hallman each had two assists. Diemer had a busy day at the post, making nine saves and three steals. The match was fairly physical as both teams combined with 17 exclusions. The Panthers did all they could to deny the Sagehens from easy goals, but Pomona-Pitzer outshot the Panthers 35 to 25 and prevented the Panthers from finding any momentum on the offensive end.
Hallman opened up Senior Day with an assist, finding Zach Senator with 3:05 left in the first period to give Pomona-Pitzer a 1-0 lead. A minute and a half later, the Panthers tied it up on a power play. In the second period, the Sagehens were slightly frustrated by the Panthers' defense, unable to find the open pass near the goal post. However, Adam Ward managed to take back the lead with 6:40 left in the half, and later Adam Gross battled traffic and fired at close range to make it 3-1. With 3:39 remaining, the Panthers brought the score within one to end the half.
The Sagehens made it 4-2 in the third period thanks to a goal by Ward, With 2:55 left in the period, Chapman was dealt with an exclusion and Jacob Niskey took advantage of the power play with a goal to make it 5-2. The Hens led 6-3 after the third.
The Panthers tried to strike early in the final period as Jack Hillman scored on a power play, but Niskey added a power play goal for insurance with 4:15 left in the game. The Sagehens never stopped playing their trademark defense, denying Chapman from a late rally and forcing them to tough shots. Riley Mangan's goal with 2:58 left was the icing on the cake as the Sagehens held on to an 8-4 victory.
Sagehens def. Caltech 16-6
Adam Ward followed up his solid performance against Chapman with a hat trick against the Caltech Beavers while Maxwell Bethel scored a team-high four goals. Zach Senator made three assists and Keegan Coleman led with five steals. James Kelbert started in goal, collecting seven saves and three steals, and scoring one goal on the field.
The Sagehens got off to an early lead off a power play as Jacob Niskey scored the opening goal just a minute into the first period. Caltech worked hard to stay in the game, answering back after every Sagehens' goal, but the Hens maintained a 4-3 lead at the end of the first period. The Beavers held the Sagehens in check during the second period, holding them to only one goal. However, the Sagehens kept the Beavers at bay with one goal as well, leading 5-4 at the half.
Pomona-Pitzer's offense broke out in the third period as Ward and Cade Curry sparked a 7-0 run. Within the final three minutes of the third period, Bethel unleashed a hat trick and the Hens led 9-5 after the third period.
The Beavers opened the scoring just a minute into the fourth period, but the game was out of reach as the Hens went on to win 16-6.