CLAREMONT, Calif. — Cal Lutheran women's water polo is your 2019 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament Champion! The Regals defeated Pomona-Pitzer, 10-9, and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
It's Cal Lutheran's second SCIAC Championship, and first since 2009, when they went undefeated in conference play with a 10-0 record. The Regals denied the Sagehens' shot at a three-peat and also snapped a nine-game losing streak to them.
Cal Lutheran entered the game as the No. 2 seed and had a tall task of knocking off the No. 1. Pomona-Pitzer came in unscathed in SCIAC play as CLU gave the Sagehens their first SCIAC loss since March 25, 2017.
The Regals got on the board first and had an early lead as Mackenzie Thomas and Christin Hirn made the score 2-0 just three minutes in. Pomona-Pitzer outscored the Regals, 3-1, the rest of the way and the score was tied at the end of the first. Lexi Rond scored her first goal of the game in the quarter.
Bailey Meyer and the defense came out with something to prove in the second quarter. The Regals shutout the Sagehens through seven minutes and 40 seconds as Rond and Nikki Roed put CLU up 5-3. Pomona-Pitzer finally scored with 20 seconds left in the half as the Regals had a 5-4 lead at the break.
Pomona-Pitzer took control of the game in the third quarter as the Sagehens tried to complete their three-peat. They scored two quick goals and took a 6-5 lead just two minutes in. PP added another goal on their next possession and took its biggest lead of the game, 7-5. Jessica Diaz cut the lead to one before the Sagehens responded, pushing the lead back to two. Victoria Rose Meek ended the third quarter by scoring with 46 second left, cutting the lead to one possession.
Cal Lutheran tied the game quickly into the fourth as Meek added her second goal of the game, but Pomona-Pitzer took the lead back, scoring just one minute later. The game came down to the final five minutes. It was CLU that answered the bell as Rond recorded a hat trick and tied the game at 9 with 4:37 left in the game.
The Regals then took the final lead as Hirn found the back of the net with 3:18 left. The defense and Meyer did the rest as Cal Lutheran claimed the championship with a score of 10-9.
Meyer recorded eight big saves and added one steal and one assist. The defense stepped up big, holding PP to one goal in the second and fourth quarters. Mardell Ramirez and Thomas led the team defensively with two steals each.
Rond tallied her hat trick to pace the offense and Hirn and Meek added two more apiece. The Regals moved the ball around and recorded six assists on the 10 goals, with Ramirez dishing out two. Cal Lutheran had plenty of power play opportunities, to try and convert on goals, with Meek and Rond recording four and three, respectively.
With the win, the Regals (21-8) advance to the NCAA Division I Tournament. The selection show is set for Monday, April 29th, at 8 pm ET as Cal Lutheran will find out their next opponent.
Box Score:CLU 10, PP 9
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director