CLAREMONT, Calif. — Stephanie Rosero notched a hat trick and Katie Stelnicki scored the game winner with 48 seconds left to lift the University of La Verne women's water polo team past Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 10-9, on Wednesday night at Axelrod Pool.
It is the Leopards' first win over the Athenas in recent memory and La Verne's second such win in the last week. The Leopards also beat Redlands on March 4 for the first time in at least 10 years.
The Leopards improve to 8-2 overall and 1-0 in SCIAC play, the best start to a season in recent memory. CMS falls to 2-9 and 0-1.
"The most important thing is we got a win against a very well-coached team at their house," La Verne coach William Rodriguez said. "We shot a good percentage on power plays and we shot a good percentage from the outside."
Stelnicki scored perhaps the most important goal that gave the Leopards a 10-8 lead with 48 seconds to go in the game.
The Leopards stopped the Athenas on their possession following Stelnicki's goal and tried to swing the ball around with the shot clock turned off. The ball ended up with Stelnicki with about five seconds left and the senior spun around her defender and flipped the ball about two feet in front of her to kill the clock. But one of the referees saw the play as Stelnicki dumping the ball, giving the ball back to the Athenas with two ticks left.
Roxy Kiessling converted a buzzer beater to bring the final score to 10-9.
Rosero set the tone early with two goals in the first quarter to help the Leopards take a 4-2 lead and despite the Athenas hanging close for most of the game, La Verne never gave up the lead.
CMS got within 7-6 with early in the third quarter but Catie Tuning scored two huge goals to give the Leopards a 9-6 lead. The Athenas cut the deficit to one goal again as they scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter before Stelnicki tucked away her game winner.
The Leopards are back in action this weekend at the annual Lancer Invitational, hosted by Cal Baptist, on Friday and Saturday.