Oxy Falls to La Verne 13-12 Despite Comeback

Oxy Falls to La Verne 13-12 Despite Comeback

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LOS ANGELESElijah Havens had four goals and five steals, and Alexander Zim and Wilson Noll each scored three goals as the Occidental men's water polo team battled La Verne at Taylor Pool on Saturday.

The Tigers went on a run in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 12-12 with 2 minutes to play, but the Leopards made one more play to edge Oxy 13-12.

Trailing 12-9, Oxy hit the post twice with a pair of shots in the fourth quarter. Havens finally broke through with a penalty shot, Noll scored after a La Verne turnover and Zim scored the prettiest goal of the game with a backhand flick from center to tie the game.

La Vern'e Chucky Ortega had the biggest of his game-high five goals on the Leopards next possession, giving La Verne a 13-12 lead with 1:50 to play. Ortega made two attempts at getting the ball across the line, finally pushing it barely past Oxy goalkeeper Henry Grady on the second attempt.

Oxy had two chances to tie, but came up empty handed.

"We need to do a better job of matching our opponents' intensity in the first quarter," Oxy head coach Jack Stabenfeldt said. "After we get settled into games, we play great water polo. I'm excited about what we learned today about ourselves — regardless of the score we're never out of it. The guys played with a lot of heart and we need to keep moving forward."

Hayden Comerford and Cian Concannon rounded out Oxy's goal scorers with one goal each. Nicolas Lipari had three assists and Zim and Noll each added two assists for Oxy.

Jason Russum had a solid game for the Leopards with three goals and three steals.

Oxy's comeback in the fourth quarter wasn't its first of the game. The Tigers also made a solid push to tie the game after trailing 6-2. 

Season Impact: Oxy continues to play solid water polo and improve with a young team. The Tigers have already surpassed the 10-win mark this season and have won three of their last six games. The Tigers record goes to 10-8 overall and 0-6 in SCIAC play.

La Verne improves to 7-13 and 3-3.

Next Game: The Tigers look to get their first SCIAC win of the season at Caltech on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Oxy's next home game is on Thursday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 4 p.m. at Taylor Pool.

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