Men's polo starts in rough waters

Campus Times
September 24, 1999

photo by Erica Paal

Joe Konrad, a ULV junior from Chino Hills, gives everything he's got on the last day of the Inland Empire Classic water polo tournament. The Indland Empire Classic was hosted by Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday, Sept. 18 and Sunday, Sept. 19. On the last day of the tournament ULV lost a morning match to UC Santa Cruz 12-8.

by Jason Cooper
Staff Writer

Taking one of four games in the Inland Empire Classic hosted at the University of Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer pools, the University of La Verne men's water polo team endured its second rough weekend in a row.

Coming back from a disappointing performance against tough Division III teams the previous weekend at the University of California, San Diego, La Verne looked to play intense.

"We gave every team a really good game," said junior John Villarreal.

The first of four games played on Saturday and Sunday was against California Baptist University.

The Leopards played strong throughout the game but could not get the better of a quick offense and the tough defense of Cal Baptist. The final decision resulted in an 11-7 loss for La Verne.

"We needed to capitalize on everything we did," said sophomore defensive wing Rey Lopez. "We would have a strong offensive drive, shoot and hit the cage. We hit the cage a lot."

The second of the two matches Saturday pitted La Verne against the Whittier Poets. A small rivalry was ignited between the two teams prior to the tournament due to a SCIAC poll released by Whittier that predicted La Verne would finish last in conference play.

"That poll fired us up," said freshman Kevin Sgambelluri. "We wanted that game bad."

An exciting double-overtime finish settled the dispute with ULV coming out on top 15-13.

Inspired play was provided by members such as Fred Sicard, who had four goals and played both sides of the pool well.

Defense was huge in this game, despite the high amount of goals. Goalie Mike Miles recorded 15 impressive saves.

The team that showed up on Sunday offered a valiant effort but played tired.

"We trained real hard all week, and when we played we were tired and broken down," said Villarreal.

The fatigue showed as UC Santa Cruz met La Verne on Sunday morning and handed them their second defeat of the weekend. The Leopards would succumb to the Banana Slugs in four periods, 12-8.

"We couldn't pull anything off on Sunday," Lopez said.

"We were not able to capitalize on our defensive counter," said Sgambelluri. "We should have beat Santa Cruz."

The team that erupted on to the SCIAC scene last year played dormant.

Tyler Morgan and Josef Conrad both had multipoint games, but to no avail for La Verne as they fell to Chapman College, 9-6.

"We had nothing left on Sunday," said head coach Tim Hugar. "We weren't rested and it showed in our play."

La Verne experienced much of the same problems it had in the first match of the day. The team had a hard time organizing successful scoring drives and its defensive play was lacking.

"Playing teams of this caliber is going to help us at the end of the season," said Hugar. "Our team is hard-working and good."

"Our conference will be tough"

Against teams in their conference during the last two tournaments, La Verne is 1-1 with the win against Whittier and a loss against Redlands.

La Verne travels to Santa Barbara this weekend to play UC Santa Barbara.

Conference play begins on Oct. 20 against Caltech at home.

"We have some tough games coming up," said Sgambelluri, "and we are going to step it up."