Back-To-Back: Sagehens Repeat As SCIAC Champions
Pasadena, Calif. - The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo team defeated Redlands 10-7 in the SCIAC Tournament finals to win its second consecutive SCIAC Championship on Sunday afternoon at Caltech.
With the win, the Sagehens improve to 18-16 overall and 9-2 in the SCIAC as they will advance to the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship at Harvard in two weeks. A year ago, Pomona-Pitzer defeated Redlands 12-11 in triple overtime on a sudden death goal from current sophomore Mahalia Prater-Fahey (San Diego, Calif.) and faced top-seeded Stanford, Loyola Marymount, and Iona in the NCAAs.
This time around, the Sagehens didn't need the late drama, as they built a 4-1 lead after the first quarter and kept the multi-goal lead the rest of the way. Freshman Katy Schaefer (Los Altos, Calif.) started a 5-1 run with back-to-back goals in the first quarter to turn a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead. Prater-Fahey scored with 30 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 4-1, and after Redlands scored the first goal of the second quarter, Schaefer and sophomore Alyssa Woodward (Riverside, Calif.) had goals to push the lead to 6-2.
Redlands, though, closed to within 7-4 at the half behind three goals from Annie Kinney, and tallied the first goal of the second half on a penalty shot from Jaci Cochrane to get back within 7-5. Sophomore Sarah Westcott (Menlo Park, Calif.) answered quickly, but Redlands came right back 20 seconds later to make the score 8-6 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
The defenses tightened up after that, and sophomore Chrissie Alving-Trinh (Fresno, Calif.) converted on a counter to make the score 9-6 with 2:57 left in the third quarter. Redlands pulled within 9-7 with the first goal of the fourth quarter from Moana Tuipulotu, but the Sagehen defense did not allow another goal over the final 7:03, and Prater-Fahey scored her second of the match to seal it with 3:04 left.
Westcott and Schaefer tied for team high honors with three goals apiece, while senior goalie Sarah Tuggy (Los Angeles, Calif.) had nine saves. Tuggy will be making her third NCAA Tournament appearance in her four seasons with the Sagehens, after also earning bids in 2010 and 2012.
Pomona-Pitzer will be making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Water Polo Championships, all in the last seven years under current head coach Alex Rodriguez.