Dramatic Win Over Redlands Gives Sagehens Split

Dramatic Win Over Redlands Gives Sagehens Split

Redlands, Calif. - Freshman Max Ries scored the game-winning goal with just two seconds left in the second overtime to give the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo team a 12-11 win over Redlands at the Inland Empire Classic on Sunday afternoon (game-winning shot pictured).

Earlier in the day, the Sagehens fell 16-9 to Whittier as they move to 3-3 on the season with the split. Pomona-Pitzer has now won two one-goal matches in dramatic fashion, after also knocking off No. 14 Loyola Marymount 10-9 on Sept. 5 on a save from goalie Daniel Diemer just before the final horn.

The Redlands match was tight the entire way, with the score tied 4-4 after the first quarter, 6-6 at the half, 8-8 at the end of three quarters, 9-9 at the end of regulation, and 10-10 at the end of the first overtime.

The Sagehens drew a pivotal penalty call to earn a five-meter shot with 57 seconds left in the second overtime, and junior Timmy Hardman converted to put Pomona-Pitzer ahead 11-10. Redlands drew a kickout on its ensuing possession and converted the equalizer to knot the score with 18 seconds left and the Sagehens called a timeout to set up the final play.

Junior James Baker had the ball along the right side of the pool, while Pomona-Pitzer ran a play to free Ries up along the left side. After a cross-pool pass to the top of the five-meter line, Ries was able to get a clean look and delivered the game-winning shot into the lower-left corner with just two seconds left on the clock.

It was the second time in the match that the Sagehens earned a key goal coming off a timeout. Trailing 9-8 late in regulation, Pomona-Pitzer came out of a timeout, and freshman Adam Ward was able to split the defense before flipping a blind pass to Hardman, who buried a shot into the left side of the net to even the match 9-9. 

"Our execution coming out of timeouts was huge," said Head Coach Alex La. "That's something we struggled with earlier this weekend; we just weren't clicking as a team. We fixed a few things, and I think we played more as a team in the Redlands match."

Redlands struck first in the initial overtime session for a 10-9 lead, but Pomona-Pitzer answered on a goal from sophomore Mark Hallman, his third of the match, tying him with Hardman for team-high honors. Senior Phillip Clayman had two goals in the first quarter, while Ward, junior Nic Lanker and junior James Baker also had goals for the Sagehens.

"I think the things we struggled with last year, we are winning those same battles this year," said La. "The mental toughness of our guys to stick with it all the way even after falling behind and then to win it on the last play, it's huge for us."

Ward led the Sagehens with three goals in their earlier match against Whittier, but the defending SCIAC Champions scored six goals in the second quarter to take a 9-6 lead and were able to keep separation in the second half on their way to a 16-9 win. Clayman added two goals for Pomona-Pitzer, while senior Neil Forsythe, Lanker, Hallman and Baker each added one. 

Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action next weekend for two matches at Loyola Marymount, including a rematch with Whittier in the morning and then the second meeting with the host Lions this season.