CLAREMONT — After struggling early against the University of Hawaii, the women's water polo team put together a strong second half surge, only to fall short in a 15-9 loss to the No. 16 ranked NCAA Division I team at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Hawaii converted four consecutive 6-on-5's to take a 4-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The Tigers finally got on the board with two minutes to play in the quarter, when Kelsey Shyba (Los Gatos) hit from six meters out on Oxy's first power play of the game. Hawaii would score once more, another 6-on-5 conversion, to finish the first ahead 5-1.
In the second, Hawaii scored five unanswered goals to take a 10-1 lead at the half.
"We were struggling all over the place in the first half," said Oxy head coach Larry Zubrin. "We had to regroup and come up with a different game plan."
After allowing two more early goals, the Tigers took over and outscored UH by an 8-3 margin the rest of the way.
Oxy's top two scorers, Tessa Bailey-Findley (Anaheim Hills) and Nanea Fujiyama (Honolulu) were held scoreless in the first half, but the two combined for six goals in the second half. Bailey-Findley led all players with four goals.
"When we get to the SCIAC Tournament, our opponents are going to be very familiar with us." Zubrin said. "The ability to make successful adjustments like we did today will be a key to our success in those big games."
Oxy is now 20-7 overall on the season with a 3-2 record in SCIAC play.
The Tigers return to conference play on Wednesday against Caltech at 5 p.m.
BOX SCORE 1st 2nd 3rd 4th TOTAL
Occidental 1 0 4 4 9
Hawaii 5 5 2 3 15
Occidental-Bailey-Findley-4, Fujiyama-2, Shyba-1, Albino-1, Gibbs-1
Hawaii-Genec-4, Teets-3, Towgood-3, Wilson-3, West-1, Lewis-1
Occidental-Adeleye-2, Perez-1, Munoz-2