The women’s water polo team was back in action Thursday as it hosted the Wheaton Thunder of Illinois at the City of La Verne Aquatics Center.
The Leopards began strong but were unable to hold off Wheaton as they fell to the Thunder, 9-7.
The match began with La Verne and Wheaton trading possessions for the majority of the first quarter.
Outstanding goalkeeping by La Verne’s senior Lindsay Jones kept Wheaton scoreless. With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, La Verne took the first lead of the day with Elizabeth Roberts’ goal to put the Leopards ahead, 1-0.
“I feel like we came out strong,” Jones said.
Building on the momentum of the first quarter La Verne played strong defense and built their lead with a pair of goals from Ashley Forsberg and Elizabeth Roberts to make the score 3-0.
With four minutes left in the first half, the Leopards continued their outstanding defensive play keeping Wheaton scoreless for the remainder of the first half and maintaining a comfortable 3-0 lead.
“We played really good in the first half, I thought we came out really strong,” coach Alex La said.
The beginning of the second half was much of the same as La Verne came out scoring in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter with a goal by Diane Aguayo, putting the Leopards up, 4-0.
Two minutes later Wheaton countered with a goal of their own by Jessica Mcgee to put themselves on the board for the first time, cutting their deficit down to three goals.
Answering right back, Roberts recorded her third goal of the game for La Verne. Melinda Fairman contributed her first goal of the game to give the Leopards a marginal five point lead.
With just more than four minutes left in the third quarter, Wheaton remained composed and took off on a scoring frenzy scoring three unanswered goals within the last four minutes of the third quarter to put the score at 6-4, bringing them within reach of a win at the end of the third quarter.
The beginning of the fourth quarter was reminiscent of the first quarter. Both teams traded possessions for the first couple minutes until Wheaton scored a pair of back to back goals to tie the game, 6-6.
With the momentum completely in Wheaton’s favor they capitalized to take the lead 7-6 with 4:41 remaining.
Another score followed the one previous, giving the Thunder a two point cushion with a little over four minutes remaining.
Wheaton boasting a 7-0 run gave up a late score by La Verne’s Aguayo, separating the teams by just one goal.
The late effort was not enough for a win. La Verne lost the game, 9-7.
“We weren’t challenging ourselves enough, we played a lot better, but I don’t even know what to say,” Aguayo said.
La Verne falls to (0-10) and is still looking for their first win of the season.
“We just need to play the second half like we played the first half and we’ll be ok, we can do it,” Jones said.
La Verne was also in action this weekend at the Claremont Convergence Tournament.
The Leopards lost the first three games of the tournament, but were able to win their first game of the season in the fourth game defeating Carthage, 8-7.
The Leopards next match will be against Macalester at the La Verne Aquatic Center on Saturday.
Aaron Braunwalder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org