IRVINE, Calif. – The Whittier College men's water polo team got off to a rocky start to its 2010 season as it went 0-2 on the first day of the UC Irvine Invitational on Saturday afternoon. The Poets dropped its first game to Long Beach State, 22-8, before Pomona-Pitzer bested the Poets, 9-7.
In the first game of the day, Whittier capitalized on a man-up situation to tie the score at 1-1 in the first quarter but No. 9 Long Beach State scored five of the next six goals to take a 6-2 lead into the second quarter.
The Poets faced a 10-2 deficit before it ended its scoring drought but LBSU tacked on four more goals to hold a 14-3 lead at the intermission.
Despite being outscored 7-3 in the third quarter, Whittier scored two goals to Long Beach's one in the final frame.
Chris Sazo had a team-high two assists and three drawn ejections.
The Poets played three goalies in the game as Chad Evenrud finished four saves in the first half. Chris Maloney picked up a trio of saves in the third quarter and Ryan Brunansky stopped two shots in the fourth.
In the night cap, Whittier surrendered three goals to Division III No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer before it got on the board in the final minute of the first quarter.
Wes Paulson ended the 3-0 run by the Sagehens with his first of three goals for the game.
Keary Schlactus cut the Poets' deficit to 3-2 with his scoring strike at 7:26 of the second quarter and Babot evened the score at 3-3 at the 3:56 mark but Pomona-Pitzer ended the half on a 2-0 run to hold a 5-3 lead at the break.
Whittier and the Sagehens traded goals in the first three minutes of the third quarter but a late goal by the Sagehens gave them a 7-4 lead heading into the final quarter.
WC scored two of the first three goals of the fourth quarter to trail 8-6 with 3:55 left but Pomona tacked on a goal with just over two minutes left. Paulson scored in the final minute of the game to make it a 9-7 final.
The Poets continue play tomorrow as they face USC and Redlands.