BERKELEY, Calif. – Joseph Schafer scored a hat trick, but the No. 3 Cal Golden Bears were too much for the No. 17 Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo team, beating the Sagehens 16-6 in the NCAA Play-in game Thursday night.
The loss ends the Sagehens' incredible 2016 campaign that included big wins over ranked opponents, a perfect 11-0 slate in SCIAC play, and a 23-9 overall record.
"It's been a fun season," said assistant coach Alex La. "I think the guys are very coachable, they always listen and want to get better. The boys stepped up to the plate all year."
The Sagehens rolled in the SCIAC Tournament, beating the rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags 7-4 in the championship game, claiming their first SCIAC title since 2011. They recorded wins over No. 8 UC Irvine, No. 12 UC San Diego, and No. 19 Air Force. The Sagehens finished the season winning 14 of their last 16 games.
James Baker got the scoring started for the Sagehens when he bolted a shot past the goalie in the second quarter. Schafer went off in the fourth quarter scoring all three of his goals in the period.
Jacob Niskey had a big fourth as well, scoring two goals in the quarter.
Pomona-Pitzer cleaned up the SCIAC Postseason awards with senior Baker earning Player of the Year honors. Junior goalkeeper Daniel Diemer and sophomore attacker Adam Ward along with Baker were named First Team All-SCIAC. Freshman Schafer was named Second Team All-SCIAC. Matt Alexander made the SCIAC Sportsmanship Team.
Head Coach Alex Rodriguez and assistant coaches La, Eric Gonzalez, and Josh Hower were named Coaching Staff of the Year.
The Sagehens will graduate six players from the 2016 squad.
"The seniors were huge for us," said La. "I've seen them really grow into being leaders for our team and they really deserved to have their final season go this well."
With the bulk of the team returning next year, the Sagehens look to have another successful run in 2017.