Men's Water Polo Wins Back-to-Back SCIAC Championships
The Pomona-Pitzer men’s water polo team scored their second SCIAC championship in a row, beating California Lutheran University 12-9 in the tournament championship game on Sunday, November 16.
“I am really proud of my boys,” says Alex Rodriguez, head coach for men's and women's water polo. “We had a tough season, graduating six seniors [including three starters,] and we lost another starter as well. We were not expected to do well this year, and struggled through the conference round robin.”
In the round robin, Pomona-Pitzer won California Lutheran by one point, Occidental College by two, and lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and University of Redlands by one each. However, Pomona-Pitzer won both the first round and semi-finals games leading up to the final tournament championship game last weekend, beating University of La Verne 16-3 and Whittier College 7-5.
The final conference standings show the Pomona-Pitzer men's water polo team, who until 2007 hadn’t won a SCIAC championship since 1980, with a total of 14 points, with nine for coming in first in the tournament and five points earned for first round wins.
“Our motto for the tournament was to play without fear of losing. They really did that,” says Rodriguez. “We played our best water polo in the tournament, led by Ryan Balikian ’11 and Ben Hadley ‘11. They both played the majority of every game and are great offensive and defensive players.”
The Pomona-Pitzer team will compete this weekend against Chapman University in the initial seeding of the Western Water Polo Association conference, which is an NCAA Division I water polo conference. The conference will be hosted at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and the winner will automatically move on to the 40th annual NCAA men’s water polo championship at Stanford in December.
For more information on the SCIAC final championship game, visit our Athletics site.