Ending the season with 24 goals, Andrew McPartland made the last two on Saturday against Air Force. University of La Verne scored the first goal but would lose the lead and trail the rest of the game to the Falcons. The Leopards lost the game, 6-5.
The men’s water polo team fell to the Falcons from Air Force, 6-5, Sunday at the La Verne Aquatics Center.
The Leopards were down to the No. 18 team in the country, 4-1, at halftime. In the second half, the Leopards came within one goal of the tie but ran out of time.
The Leopards took an early lead two minutes into the game but were unable to hold the lead or build on it until the second half.
Although La Verne came away with the loss, the ability to compete with one of the top teams at the Div. I level speaks volumes for the program.
“Playing Div. 1 programs helps your mentality and brings up your level of play,” junior driver Justin Haas said.
“If we come out and win that game, the more people know about the program,” sophomore two-meter Duncan Cox said. “That is great not only for the team, but for the University as well.”
The Leopards came out against Air Force in a press in order to get a feel for their defense.
This helped ULV with their counter-attack which led to the early lead.
“We know what to expect from our conference teams but since this was the first time playing Air Force, we decided to see what they would do,” Haas said.
La Verne also came off a loss the previous day, losing to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 9-8.
“The loss against Claremont may have been a factor mentally, playing back to back days but we can’t let that be our excuse,” Haas said. “We have to get used to playing games one after another with the SCIAC tournament.”
“Air Force was a rough loss,” senior driver Jared Carvitto said. “Overall, we played better, we had fewer mental breakdowns today.”
However, the loss did not have any effect towards ULV capturing the Southern Calif-ornia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. This weekend they begin play in the SCIAC tournament.
The SCIAC winner will advance to the NCAA playoffs where they will compete against Div. I teams for the NCAA championship.
La Verne will be the third seed for the SCIAC tournament and will be playing Occidental.
“It’s going to be tough but we are confident in making it to the first place match,” Haas said. “We just have to take it one game at a time and not have any mental breakdowns.”
Despite three losses in the last four games, Carvitto remained confident in his team’s chances in the tournament.
“We need to make sure we have intensity and go out playing with fire,” Carvitto said. “Our primary focus is to win the SCIAC title.”
ULV’s matchup with Occidental is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at Pomona-Pitzer.
The SCIAC tournament will be hosted by Pomona-Pitzer the entire weekend.
Mike Senyo can be reached at email@example.com.