Men's Water Polo: Diemer and Defense Send Sagehens to SCIAC Final

Men's Water Polo: Diemer and Defense Send Sagehens to SCIAC Final

CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo Team advanced to the SCIAC Final after defeating cross-street rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 13-10 on Friday night thanks to an incredible defensive performance by Daniel Diemer. The Sagehens goalkeeper showed why he was the SCIAC Athlete of the Year, collecting 12 saves and holding the Stags to only five goals in the first three periods.

Adam Ward and Riley mangan co-led the Hens with 3 goals apiece while Adam Gross had 4 assists and a goal. As impressive the Sagehens looked on the offensive end, they excelled on the defensive end, holding the Stags to a .333 shooting percentage and collecting 11 total steals.

The Sagehens wasted little time to get on board as Adam Ward scored the opening goal off a pass from Adam Gross. The Sagehens later committed a penalty to let the Stags even the score, but with 3:15 remaining in the first period, Dylan Eliott took advantage of a power play and made it 2-1. Riley Mangan closed the first period with back-to-back goals to extend the lead 4-1.

The Stags tried to get back in the game in second period, moving the ball near the post. Noah Deer cut the deficit just 30 seconds into the half to make it 4-2 before Keegan Coleman took the goal back. After Noah Deer cut the Sagehens' lead to 5-3 with a goal near the center of the net, the Sagehens' defense tightened up and directed the Stags' shots directly at Diemer. While the defense managed to lock down the Stags, Adam Ward brought the Hens up by three after receiving the ball with his back facing the goal from five meters and turning around with a whipping shot to make it 6-3. With 3:18 left in the half, Deer managed to rip a shot from the middle, but Diemer was there to block the attempt. CMS freshman CJ Box got the rebound and fired a quick shot, but Diemer quickly reacted and made a spectacular save to hold them off. Mangan and Max Ries each scored before the end of the half to take a 8-4 lead.

The third period played out similarly as the second period, with the Sagehens' defense limiting the Stags' attack while the Hens patiently looked for openings on offense. Gross strung a beautiful pass to Ward to open up the scoring in the third period and followed up with another assist to Cade Curry to give Pomona-Pitzer a 10-4 lead. After jumping to a 11-5 lead, Gross delivered the dagger with a laser shot from distance to make it 12-5 at the end of the third period.

The Stags tried to string a comeback in the final period, scoring five goals, but the deficit was too big to overcome as the Sagehens held on for a 13-10 victory.

The Hens will face the Whittier College Poets on Sunday, November 19 at 11 a.m.