Stockton, CA - The No. 25 Pomona-Pitzer Women's Water Polo team stayed close with the No. 8 Pacific Tigers, but fell in the NCAA Opening-Round Game, 11-5. The Sagehens won the SCIAC Championship to earn the conference's automatic qualifier after defeating Whittier in the championship game. Senior Christina Williamson earned Athlete of the Year honors for Pomona-Pitzer.
Kyra Christmas scored the opening goal of the game just under five minutes into the first quarter to give the Tigers the initial 1-0 lead.
The Sagehens responded when Samantha Martinez evened the game 30 seconds later. The Tigers retook the lead with one second remaining in the quarter on a shot by Mariana Duarte that bounced off goalie Asha Earwood's hands and in, giving Pacific the 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Pacific got off to a quick start in the second quarter when 20 seconds into the period Rachel Kriger grabbed a pass in front of the cage and scored to extend the Tigers lead to 3-1.
Pacific went up by three when Duarte stole a pass and scored with just over three minutes left in the half.
The Sagehens answered with 1:27 left in the period after Earwood sent a long pass to Yu who then drew an exclusion on Ellen Tiedemann. Junior Morgan McCraken then drilled the penalty shot to cut the deficit to 4-2. But the Tigers rallied off two more goals to go into the break with a 6-2 lead.
After the Tigers scored to open the second half, Pomona-Pitzer scored their first goal of the period on a power play connection from Williamson to Hope Grant. Grant fired a shot in between two defenders and past the goalie for the goal, putting the score at 7-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
Hill added a goal in the final period when Kahea Kahaulelio found her open at the ride side of the cage. Hill sent a shot to the back of the net to put the score at 10-4 with four minutes to play.
The Sagehens fought to the last second of the game with junior Erica Halaszynski scoring on an assist by Kahaulelio to put the final at 11-5.
The Tigers scored four goals in the fourth quarter. Pacific advances to play No. 2 Standford next week in Indianapolis.