Leopards end season with triumph
May 7, 1999
The ULV women's water polo team concluded its inaugural season Saturday
with a win over Whittier College in the SCIAC tournament. Freshman Allison
Alastuey scored the game-winning goal with 52 seconds left in overtime to
cap a 7-6 victory. Freshman Maria DeSantis (above) tallied 13 saves during
the Whittier game. She had an excellent performance, recording 59 saves
over the weekend and 94 total in the tournament.
The University of La Verne women's water polo team finished its season
on a winning note last weekend in the SCIAC Tournament at the University
On Sunday, the Leopards prevailed over Whittier College, 7-6, in its
second overtime victory against the Poets in as many weeks.
Throughout the game, the score was tied on four different occasions.
Freshman Allison Alastuey scored the first of her two goals with 1:28
left in the fourth period to give La Verne a 5-4 lead.
Whittier answered soon after on a goal by Val Vitkauskas with :56 seconds
left on the clock. The score would remain tied for the remainder of regulation.
Having defeated Whittier in overtime just one week earlier in the first
round of the SCIAC Tournament, La Verne went into the overtime period with
a sense of confidence.
"We had a lot of confidence going into overtime," said freshman
goalie Maria DeSantis. This confidence showed for DeSantis. She blocked
several would-be game-winning shots by the Poets.
Early in the first overtime period, La Verne went ahead 6-5 on a rocket,
perimeter shot by freshman Tandis Morgan, who had threes goals in the game.
"We didn't want it to go into sudden death overtime again. We knew
we could win it," said Morgan.
Whittier answered with a goal of its own with 1:21 left in the second
Whittier then followed with an offensive barrage that DeSantis and the
Leopards defense handled with the greatest of ease. The Leopards transitioned
to the offensive end after a DeSantis save. Morgan ended up with the ball
and took a high, far corner shot that was blocked by Whittier goalie Sara
Taking advantage of the rebound from the save, Alastuey quickly tipped
in the ball on the near side for what would be the winning goal.
The Leopards played more tough team defense to prevent another Whittier
score and pulled out the 7-6 win.
Freshman Theresa Taylor contributed two goals, and Desantis tallied
13 of her 59 saves on the weekend en route to the Leopards last win of the
The final round of the SCIAC tournament was not exactly a carnival of
fun for the Leopards, however. La Verne suffered four straight losses Friday
"We were a little bit of a roller coaster team this season,"
said head coach Tim Hugar. "But we finished pretty strong at the end
of the season. We didn't have a lot of wins, but we played good."
In La Verne's first game of the final round Friday afternoon, Redlands
took advantage of its experience and seniority as it routed the Leopards,
Freshman Andrea Griffith scored two goals and freshman Katie Aimone
scored one in a game that was controlled by Redlands.
Later Friday afternoon, the Leopards faced off against Occidental and
fell to the Tigers, 11-2. Goals came from Morgan and freshman Theresa Taylor.
Desantis blocked a total of 13 shots.
Saturday morning proved to be a repeat of the day before as La Verne
fell to Claremont, 7-1. La Verne held Claremont to a 3-1 lead at halftime
in a tough defensive game.
The second half proved to belong to Claremont, though. The Athenas scored
four more goals to lock up the win. Claremont would go on to beat top-seeded
Redlands and swipe the tournament title.
Morgan scored La Verne's only goal, and DeSantis recorded 10 saves.
Saturday's second game for the Leopards ended up being the positive
turning point for the young team as it exchanged blows with Pomona-Pitzer.
After a slow start and a 3-0 deficit in the first period, the Leopards
rallied behind Taylor, who scored two consecutive goals, and a goal by Morgan
to tie the score at 3-3 going into the fourth period.
Junior Liz Rodarte scored a goal early in the fourth period to give
La Verne its first lead of the game, 4-3.
The Sagehens then tied the score on a goal by Jacquie Cole. However,
La Verne was determined to win.
Griffith put the Leopards back on top on a heroic goal with 1:34 left
to play. But the Sagehens defense proved to be too much for La Verne as
it converted two La Verne turnovers into goals and won, 6-5.
DeSantis recorded a remarkable, tournament-high 15 saves in the Leopards
"To get ready mentally to play at this level is what we're trying
to do. We're getting more comfortable playing here," said Hugar.
La Verne will return all players from this year's roster for next season.
The Leopards competed throughout the season with two juniors and 10
freshmen, a factor that could prove to be key in the building process of
the first-year team.