Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
DAVIS, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team had a tough weekend up in Davis taking part in the Aggie Round-Up. Their they played five games over two days with four of them being against Division I opponents.
Whittier now drops to 1-7 on the season.
Game 1 (Santa Clara; L, 13-8)
Whittier opened up the Aggie Round-Up against Division I Santa Clara who like the Poets received votes in the CWPA Varsity Polls. Aidan Tol (Tustin, Calif.) got the Poets on the scoreboard first at the 6:08 mark before Santa Clara would get into their offense going with two of their own. Tim Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.) then deadlocked the game at 2-2 with 2:17 to play in the frame but over the final 2:00, the Poets were outscored 2-1 giving the Broncos a 4-3 lead.
In the second Santa Clara picked up their defensive pressure holding the Poets scoreless in the period as they took a 9-3 lead into the break.
Whittier was able to tack on three in the third quarter from Zane Janich (Sacramento, Calif.), Cornelis Kriek (Pretoria, South Africa), and Tol but they couldn't cut into the deficit as the scored moved to 12-6. In the fourth, both Janich and Kriek would add another two for the Purple & Gold, while holding Santa Clara to just one connection but the gap was too much to overcome as the Broncos would go on to win 13-8.
Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) played between the posts and totaled nine saves.
Game 2 (San Jose State; L, 10-7)
The Poets looked forward to a strong match-up with San Jose State in game two of the Round-Up. Like game one the Poets struck first this time from Kriek but still saw themselves trailing after the period 2-1.
Aakhus added the equalizer to begin the second but again the Spartans were able to bounce back to tack on back-to-back strikes to take a 4-2 lead into the break.
The second half had much more offensive firepower on both sides as they combined for 11 goals. Kriek pulled the Poets within one out of intermission and Aakhus answered soon after with the equalizer. But again San Jose State found a way to put away three straight to go back on top 7-4 to end the third.
In the final eight minutes, Whittier was able to add three connections, which included the final two of the game with under 1:30 to play but the deficit of five midway through the fourth was too much to overcome as WC would fall 10-7.
Ersoz again played all 32:00 in goal and finished with 12 saves.
Game 3 (MIT; L, 10-9 OT)
The game of the weekend came against Division III rival MIT. This match-up went the distance and more as the Engineers would pull off the 10-9 win in OT. Whittier got off to a hot start scoring three unanswered from Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden) and Tol, while holding MIT scoreless in the first period. The Engineers stopped the bleeding out of the break with their first connection but Tyler Fields (Norwalk, Calif.) would then respond with his first of the tournament that extended the lead back to three.
Over the final 1:30 of the half, both teams would add another goal as the score would move to 5-2 at intermission.
To open the third, MIT capitalized on a man-up opportunity to cut the deficit to two. Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.) would add his first of the tournament minutes later but again MIT wouldn't back away as they would add two more to pull within one at 6-5.
Leading 7-5 heading into the fourth, the Poets quickly saw their lead evaporate as the Engineers would add two quick strikes to deadlock the game at 7-7. Tol stopped the run with his second of the game but again that lead wouldn't hold as MIT came down two possessions later to add the game-tying goal, which eventually forced the game into OT.
In extra time, Heredia Viteri put WC on top with under a minute to play in the first OT period. In the second, MIT managed to scrap and kept their hopes alive as Clyde Huibregtse would find the back of the goal with :04 seconds left in the period.
Then in the 7th period, an exclusion was called on the Poets Andrew Breeden (Capitola, Calif.) giving MIT a man-up opportunity, which they capitalized on as they wound up converting the game-winning goal with :05 seconds left.
Ersoz had a game in goal playing the entire time collecting 14 saves.
Game 4 (No. 6 Long Beach State; L, 20-5)
On day two, the Poets were matched up with two tough opponents beginning with No. 6 Long Beach State. The first goal by the Purple & Gold came from Tol with 1:05 to play in the first as they trailed 4-1 after the first quarter.
In the second, the Poets tacked on another three from Tol, Marc-Andre Roy (Montreal, Canada), and Fields, which kept them in striking distance with the 49ers at the break at 9-4.
But in the second half, Long Beach State applied the pressure outscoring the Poets 11-1 en route to the lopsided win.
Ersoz got the start and finished with four saves, while Andrew Wettstead (Fresno, Calif.) played the 3rd picking up two.
Game 5 (No. 8 Pepperdine; L, 18-5)
The final game of the weekend came against No. 8 Pepperdine. The Poets were held scoreless in the first quarter as they trailed 4-0. They again found it tough to score in the second as the Waves added another six to go in front 10-0 at the break.
The first three scores in the third went to Pepperdine until Zdolsek, Tol, and Heredia Vitari were able to stop the bleeding with three of their own midway through the period. Then in the fourth, Aakhus was able to add the fifth point for the Poets but again the deficit was too much to overcome as the Poets fell 18-5.
Wettstead got the start in goal and finished with four saves.
Whittier returns to SCIAC action this Wednesday, September 20 as they host Pomona-Pitzer beginning at 7:00pm.