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The Sagehen Report: Week of November 7

Annie Lydens '13 in her championship race

Annie Lydens '13 in her championship race

Kyle Pokorny ’12 making six of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter without allowing a goal in the SCIAC championship game.

Kyle Pokorny ’12 making six of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter without allowing a goal in the SCIAC championship game.

Men's water polo team members celebrate their victory by tossing coach Alex Rodriguez into the pool

Men's water polo team members celebrate their victory by tossing coach Alex Rodriguez into the pool

This week in Pomona-Pitzer athletics saw two fall teams crown champions, while one of the winter teams got off to a very promising start against Division I competition.

Annie Lydens ’13 added to her growing list of accolades by winning the NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country championship with a time of 21:26 at Pomona-Pitzer’s home course. Lydens finished seven seconds ahead of the closest competitor (from Lewis & Clark) as she earned the NCAA West Region title for the second year in a row. Lydens goes on to compete at the NCAA Division III National Championships this weekend in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where she will look to improve on her ninth-place finish from a year ago.

Lydens won’t be traveling alone as two runners on the Men’s Cross Country team also qualified as individuals. Alex Johnson PI ’13 and Anders Crabo ’12 finished eighth and ninth in the individual competition to earn at-large selections to nationals. Paul Balmer ’12 finished 16th overall to earn All-West Region honors as well, and could get an at-large selection to the nationals as well if Willamette is chosen as an at-large team on Monday. As a team, the Sagehens finished fifth overall at the event.

The other champion crowned this weekend was the Men’s Water Polo team, which defeated archrival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 7-4 in a thrilling SCIAC championship match on Sunday at the La Verne Aquatics Center. The score was tied 4-4 in the fourth quarter before the Sagehen seniors took over, as Jaron Moler ’12 broke the tie with just over five minutes to play, and Kyle Pokorny ’12 had six of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter without allowing a goal. Ryan Higgins ’14 scored a huge insurance goal with 48 seconds to play to put the Sagehens ahead 6-4 and Cody Moore ’13 added the final goal to seal it. 

Jason Cox PI ’13 also had  a key role this weekend with five goals in an 11-9 win over Redlands in the semifinal, and a big steal with 1:11 to play in the championship game, drawing a penalty which set up the insurance goal from Higgins. Jarrod Gaut PI ’14 also came back from a shoulder injury to score a goal in the championship game, while playing the entire fourth quarter to key the team’s defensive effort. The Sagehens now go on to the Western Water Polo Association championship this weekend in San Diego, with the winner getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

The Men’s Basketball team gave Division I Pepperdine all it could handle before dropping a 59-50 decision in its season opener in Malibu on Saturday. Greg Wright ’12 led the way offensively for the Sagehens with 12 points on 6-8 shooting, while Po Grant PI ’13 added 11. Pomona-Pitzer led by as many as six points in the first half, and led by two with 7:30 to play (36-34), before Pepperdine went on a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. Evan Zahniser ’12 had an impressive showing at point guard, with five assists and only one turnover against Division I competition, helping the Sagehens tally 16 assists and 12 turnovers as a team. Pomona-Pitzer will have its home opener this weekend, as St. Thomas  (Minn.) visits for a 5 p.m. game at the Rains Center on Saturday. 

The Sagehen swimming teams also had a strong showing at the Redlands Pentathlon on Saturday. Alex Lincoln ’14 finished in first place in the 100-yard freestyle, while Vicky Gyorffy ’15 and Nola Shi ’15 were third and fourth.  Shi finished in the top 10 in all four events, including fourth in the breaststroke, seventh in the butterfly and eighth in the backstroke. Mari Pettibone PI ’15 was fifth in the breaststroke as well. 

On the men’s side, returning all-American Max Scholten ’12 was in the top five in all four events, including second in the backstroke, his top event. He also came in third in the freestyle, fourth in the breaststroke and fifth in the butterfly. Hugh Berryman ’15 also provided a top five finish, as he came in fifth in the freestyle by breaking the 50-second mark (49.47).  Nathan Yale ’14 earned a ninth-place finish in the breaststroke and Tommy DePaoli ’13 (butterfly) and Joe LaBriola ‘12 (freestyle) each came in tenth. 

The football team closed out its 2012 season with a hard-fought 24-14 loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the Peace Pipe Game. After falling behind 21-0 early, the Sagehens battled with its top defensive effort of the season, holding the Stags to three-and-out on their first five possessions of the second half. Junior linebacker Jake Rollins ’13 and senior safety Andre Shepley ’12 led the way defensively with 10 tackles and seven tackles, respectively. 

Luke Sweeney ’13 had 142 yards to finish the year with a school-record 1,419 yards. Sweeney, who rushed for 140 yards or more in seven of his eight games, had a final average of 177.4 rushing yards per game, which will likely give him the Division III rushing title, although that will not be official until postseason play is completed in December. James Lambert ’12 finished off his career as part of an offensive line that blocked for three record-breaking offensive players in the last two years (Jake Caron, R.J. Maki and Sweeney). Lambert, who carries a 3.93 in economics, was also named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 team last week. 

In other honors, four Women’s Soccer players were named to the All-SCIAC team, with Jordan Bryant ’13 and Traci Lopez PI ’12 earning first-team honors, and Rachel Eckerlin PI ’12 and Allie Tao ’13 earning second-team honors. Ellen Yamasaki PI ’15 was also a second-team selection in volleyball. 

The Women’s Basketball team will open its 2011-12 season this week with a pair of home games. The Sagehens face San Diego Christian on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Rains Center, and then meet Pacific (Ore.) on Friday night at 7 p.m.