Men's Water Polo: Pomona-Pitzer Split Opening Day of Gary Troyer

Men's Water Polo: Pomona-Pitzer Split Opening Day of Gary Troyer

CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo Team split their opening day matches at the Gary Troyer Tournament on Friday, defeating Air Force Academy 11-8 before falling to No. 9 UC San Diego 12-9.

Season Impact: The Sagehens improve to an 8-5 record overall.

Pomona-Pitzer 11, Air Force Academy 8

The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo Team opened up the Gary Troyer Tournament with a statement victory, defeating the Division I Air Force Academy 11-8. Four different Sagehens scored a pair of goals each, with Dylan Elliott serving as the biggest catalyst on the offense with two goals and two assists. On the defensive end, Ben Sasaki collected two steals and James Kelbert made seven saves after playing only in the first half.

The Sagehens came out firing in the first period, with Riley Mangan opening the scoring with a pair of goals with 6:23 and 5:40 remaining. Adam Gross assisted on Mangan's second goal and followed up with a long distance rocket with 3:17 remaining in the period. With 2:35 remaining, Keegan Coleman made it 4-0 with a shot at close range from the wing. However, Air Force responded with three straight goals to cut the deficit 4-3. However, with 22 seconds remaining, Sam Sasaki tallied the fifth goal off an assist by Dylan Elliott.

In the second period, the Sagehens added insurance to their lead as Elliott scored double to make it 7-3. Pomona-Pitzer defense did an excellent job at containing the Air Force offense, denying them counter attack opportunities off turnovers. They were held scoreless in the second period.

In the third period, with the Sagehens ahead 7-4, Kellen Grant took over at goal and showcased his quick reflexes to preserve the lead, making three straight saves at close range. The Falcons only scored twice in the period, but the Sagehens matched their tally thanks to goals by Jack Mallory and Tony Murphy. However, Air Force cut into the lead with a penalty shot in the final seconds of the period.

With a 9-6 lead heading into the final period, the Sagehens added more insurance thanks to a goal by Adam Gross off a pass by Ben Sasaki. The Falcons answered back with a goal by Campbell Harris, but the Sagehens punctuated the match after a goal by Tony Murphy. Behind 11-7, the Falcons scored one more with eight seconds remaining, but that was it as the Sagehens held on for the victory.

Pomona-Pitzer 9, No. 9 UC San Diego 12

The Sagehens battled valiantly in their second contest of the night, going neck-and-neck with the No. 9 UC San Diego Tritons. The two sides battled back-and-forth for the first three periods, but the Tritons finally prevailed with a four-goal run that started from the end of the third period and into the fourth.

Tied at 3-3 in the first period, the Tritons managed to take the lead with 47 seconds left. UCSD made it 5-3 with a goal in the opening 30 seconds of the second period, but the Sagehens rallied back. With 5:11 remaining in the half, Sam Sasaki cut it to 5-4 and Jacob Niskey tied it up at five with 4:14 remaining. However, the Tritons took a 7-6 lead at halftime.

The third period started off as a stalemate, with both defenses forcing turnovers and dumped possessions. It wasn't until 3:19 remaining when UCSD doubled their lead off a goal by Kaden Likins. Alex Peterson scored two within a minute span to tie it back at eight with 1:46 left in the period. However, UCSD went on a 4-0 run that extended into the fourth period to seal the match.

Up Next: The Sagehens will play tomorrow against Pepperdine at 1:00 p.m. and Cal Baptist University at 6:20 p.m.