U of R Women's Water Polo Pushes past La Verne in SCIAC Opener

Photo credit: Chango Chavez
Photo credit: Chango Chavez

The University of Redlands women's water polo team welcomed the University of La Verne Leopards to the Thompson Aquatic Center for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener on Wednesday night.  Amidst a competitive and physical contest, the Bulldogs used a tough fourth quarter to break a tie and capture the 10-8 win.

After the Leopards scored on their first possession, Redlands answered with back-to-back scores, which came off the hands of senior attacker Katelyn Jenkins (Bellevue, WA) and first-year attacker Holly Kvanvig (Beaverton, OR).  Although La Verne pulled one back, the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 4-2 with senior center Kolby Kahahawai's (Kailua, HI) consecutive scores over a three-minute span.  Kvanvig provided the assist on her first one with 4:17 to go in the first.

During the second quarter, La Verne made the necessary adjustments to counter the home team's offense and ultimately outscored the Bulldogs, 3-1, to tie it up by the midway point of the game.  Redlands' only goal of the frame came with 5:22 remaining when first-year attacker Nicolette Ramirez (Whittier, CA) found junior attacker Hunter Olivier (Indio, CA) for a sweet scoring combination.

The teams traded goals in the third period, with Redlands' offensive effort clicking on all assisted goals that involved six different players. 

Amidst the intense match, the Bulldogs kept their composure in the fourth, as senior goalkeeper Kelly Grosswendt (Newbury Park, CA) stepped up with key stops to keep La Verne off the board in the final eight minutes.  In addition, Kahahawai drew two exclusions and senior attacker Sami Walker (Taylorsville, UT) put up a field block.  On the other end of the pool, the Maroon and Gray converted a power-play with 3:50 to go, as senior utility player Breanna O'Dea (Rowland Heights, CA) connected with Kahahawai in front of the Leopard cage.  With 2:06 left on the clock, Jenkins sent the ball to sophomore defender Sarah Draves (Fallbrook, CA), who found the back of the net for the Bulldogs' insurance goal.

Kahahawai finished with a game-high four scores, while Jenkins offered two goals and an assist.  Grosswendt provided 10 saves and three steals in 32 minutes of action.

Redlands (5-7, 1-0 SCIAC) hosts Siena College (NY) and McKendree University (IL) on Thursday, February 28, in a non-conference doubleheader at 4 and 7 p.m., respectively.