WHITTIER, Calif. — Bryan Jimenez notched a hat trick but the University of La Verne men's water polo team could not match the firepower of the defending SCIAC champion Whittier in a 15-9 loss at Slade Aquatic Center on Saturday.
La Verne falls to 6-18 overall and 2-6 in SCIAC play. Whittier improves to 17-11 and 6-2.
Chad Castro got the Leopards off to a good start with a goal just 34 seconds into the game. But the Poets rattled off four unanswered points and it was all Whittier from there.
The Leopards got within 5-3 in the second quarter on a goal by Jimenez and had a chance to further reduce the deficit as they drew exclusions on the next two possessions. But the Leopards failed to convert either and Whittier came back with two consecutive goals to take a 7-3 lead into the break.
The Leopards found their offensive consistency in the second half, scoring six goals, but could not ramp up their defensive intensity as they allowed eight goals.
Massimiliano Mirarchi led all players with four goals.
La Verne will host the 2015 SCIAC Men's Water Polo Championships on Nov. 21-23 at La Verne Aquatic Center and will go into the tournament as the seventh seed.