LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne men's water polo team defeated Occidental, 12-6, in the final game of the 2015 Inland Empire Classic on Sunday at La Verne Aquatics Center. The Leopards lost the first game against No. 2 USC, 23-2.
La Verne and Oxy traded goals to start the game but the Leopards closed the second quarter on a 3-0 run to get some separation. After a William Kim goal brought the Tigers within 4-3, Viken Huening, Ryan Batchelor and Chad Castro each notched a goal to give the Leopards a 7-3 lead going into the break.
Joshua Vega threatened to put the game away with a goal early in the second half, but the Tigers kept themselves within striking distance with two straight goals from Matt Otsuka and Paul Bergevin.
But the Leopards regrouped on defense and Makai DeNeve-Arnam responded with a pair of goals, including a powerful backhander, to put the Leopards up, 10-6, going in the fourth quarter.
USC, who claimed seven NCAA National Championships in the last 10 years while finishing no worse second in the other three seasons, proved to be too much for the Leopards in the first game of the day. The Trojans raced out to a 13-0 halftime lead and went on to beat La Verne, 23-2.
The Leopards return to action on Wednesday at home against Citrus.