CLAREMONT, Calif.-- The last time the Cougars and Sagehens met Azusa Pacific needed a pair of overtime periods to post a 14-12 win. On Wednesday night Pomona Pitzer nearly pushed the rematch into extra frames, but its last second shot clanked off the crossbar as the Cougar women’s water polo team held off a late Sagehen surge to record a 12-11 victory.
Azusa Pacific led 10-7 heading into the final eight minutes of play, and took a 12-9 lead on Jennifer Horchler’s second goal of the match with 4:23 on the clock. But Pomona Pitzer registered two consecutive scores in the following two minutes to make it a 12-11 match at the 1:19 mark and had a chance to tie it up in the final seconds.
The Cougars had a chance to put the Sagehens away with a steal and fastbreak, but an impressive save from Sarah Tuggy gave Pomona Pitzer the ball with 10 seconds to play. Out of the timeout the Sagehens got off a good look, but had it sail into the bar as the Cougars improved to 5-16 on the season.
Brittany Garrigan posted a hat trick in the win, scoring goals in the first, second, and fourth quarters, while Maryann Slama and Horchler finished with a pair of goals. Jessica Armagost pulled down seven saves.
Azusa Pacific grabbed a 4-1 lead early in the match, going on a 4-0 run after the Sagehens got on the board with a 5-meter score. Alynn Reade, Lora Donaldson, Taylor Whitney, and Garrigan scored in the spurt to make it a 4-1 affair after eight minutes.
Over the next two periods the two teams traded goals, each scoring three times in the second and third quarters. Garrigan, Slama, and Angelina Castaneda found the back of the net in the second, and Horchler, Alyssa Hess, and Slama recorded goals in the third.
Pomona Pitzer opened the final quarter with two quick goals to make it a 10-9 match, but Garrigan and Horchler responded with back-to-back scores to push the lead back to three. The Sagehens got to within a goal, but couldn’t pull off the comeback to fall to the Cougars for the second time this season.
Azusa Pacific will enjoy a day off before competing in the Lancer Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Cougars will take on Virginia Military Institute and Iona (N.Y.) on Friday, and will face St. Francis (N.Y.) and Marist (N.Y.) on Saturday. The two day invite will be split, with matches held at California Baptist and Redlands.