CLAREMONT, Calif. — The La Verne women's water polo team almost made it three wins in a row against NCAA Division II opponents taking Fresno Pacific to the brink, but couldn't overcome a slow first half and lost 9-8. In the final game of the weekend, the Leopards dropped to No. 12 UC Santa Barbara 16-1.
La Verne made a furious fourth quarter rally against the Sunbirds but fell just short. Trailing 8-4, La Verne's Stephanie Rosero scored two unanswered goals to bring La Verne within two goals. Fresno Pacific's Julia Ponce broke the momentum with a goal with 2:50 remaining in the game. La Verne's Candice Vorbeck found the net with 57 seconds left and after a quick defensive stop, Rya Minow got the Leopards within a single goal with 11 seconds left. But the Sunbirds were able to kill the clock to seal the game.
After allowing two quick goals to the Sunbirds to start the game, Rosero scored back-to-back goals to even the game at 2-2. But the Leopards couldn't manage to find the net the rest of the first half and went into halftime trailing 5-2.
Rosero led the Leopards with four goals and Vorbeck finished with two.
Ponce led all players with five goals.
Playing their fourth game in two days, the Leopards couldn't muster much against UC Santa Barbara, one of the best teams in the nation.
The Leopards managed just two shots on goal and Guarina Garcia notched La Verne's lone tally at the 5:23 mark in the second quarter.
UCSB's Taylor led the game with four goals.
The Leopards are back in action on Monday at 11 a.m. against Penn St.-Behrend.