WHITTIER, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran women's water polo team earned a hard-fought win as the Regals defeated the Whittier Poets 11-7 on Wednesday at the Slade Aquatics Center.
The Regals swept the Poets on the year and improved to 7-1 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play and 14-7 overall. The win gave CLU a one-game advantage over Whittier in conference play. The Poets are now 6-2 in SCIAC and 10-6 overall.
Cal Lutheran now has a firm hold on the No. 2 spot in conference, and the tie-breaker to host, with six games left in the regular season.
Goalkeeper Bailey Meyer continued her fantastic play protecting the cage and came up with 10 big saves and added three steals. The defense helped Meyer and recorded eight steals with Kaitlin Gardhouse and Mackenzie Thomas having two apiece.
Offensively, Lexi Rond recorded a team-high four goals and Christin Hirn added a hat trick. Mardell Ramirez was next with two goals and she added two assists. Rond had a team-high three drawn ejections. The Regals converted on six of their seven power play opportunities while holding Whittier to 4-of-8.
The Regals took control of the game from the very beginning. CLU scored three goals in the first quarter and shut out Whittier. Rond scored twice and Hirn to give Cal Lutheran the early lead. Whittier scored first in the second quarter, but CLU was there for the answer as Thomas found the back of the net. After Whittier cut the lead in half at 4-2, Ramirez made it four different Regals with a goal and pushed the lead back to three. The defenses stepped up for the rest of the quarter and CLU led 5-2 at the half.
The Poets cut into the lead in the third quarter. They scored twice to make it a one possession game with 3:30 left. They called a timeout on the next possession and looked to tie the game. Whittier did just that as they completed the comeback. CLU stopped the run as Megan Seeman scored to CLU the lead back. On their next possession, the Regals pushed the lead back to two as Hirn scored her second goal of the game. The score of the game was 7-5 at the end of the third quarter with Cal Lutheran having the momentum.
Ramirez started the fourth period with a goal as CLU had a three-point lead again. The Regals made it four straight goals as Rond made a penalty shot, securing a hat trick, and Cal Lutheran took a 9-5 lead. WC then scored to stop the run, but Hirn answered right back, recording a hat trick, and kept the distance. Rond scored once more, with 11 seconds left in the game, and CLU won the contest with a score of 11-7.
The Regals return home and take on Caltech in a conference clash on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Regals then play their alumni game right after at 1 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 11, WC 7
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director