Women's Water Polo finishes runner-up in SCIAC

Women's Water Polo finishes runner-up in SCIAC

REDLANDS, Calif. — The University of La Verne women's water polo team's incredible run came to an end as it lost, 17-12, to Whittier in the SCIAC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon at Thompson Aquatic Center.

The Leopards finish second in the SCIAC with 14 total points and wraps up arguably the best season in program history. La Verne notched a total of eight SCIAC wins for the the first time ever and snapped years-long losing streaks against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pomona-Pitzer and Redlands. The Leopards also earned four wins against NCAA Division I teams.

La Verne put up a good fight against the reigning champion but a costly ejection proved decisive. Guarina Garcia, who led the Leopards in goals as a freshman, committed three major fouls -- all in the second quarter -- and was ejected from the game with 1:47 left in the first half.

The ejection seemed to deflate the Leopards, who had been hanging tough in the game up to that point. Isabella Gorrocino converted Whittier's power play on Garcia's third exclusion to give Whittier an 8-6 lead and the Poets started the third quarter on a 3-1 run take an 11-7 lead.

Catie Tuning scored on the ensuing possession to get the Leoaprds within three goals with 1:23 left in the third quarter, but that was as close as La Verne got the rest of the way.

The Leopards got off to a good start as Tuning, Stephanie Rosero and Jasmine Bustamante each scored to give the Leopards a 3-2 lead. But Whittier scored a power play goal and a penalty shot to take a 4-3 and never relinquished the lead.

Tuning, Candice Vorbeck and Emily Randall each scored two goals to pace the Leopards.

Gorrocino and Angelica Hernandez each scored four goals to lead all players.