Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team again pulled off a huge win within Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play Thursday night as they held off Claremont-M-S 8-7 at Axelrood Pool.
This marks the fourth conference game where the Purple & Gold have won by just a goal as they remain perfect in SCIAC play at 8-0, while improving to 12-9.
The Poets were held scoreless over the final eight minutes, but their defensive unit stood strong only allowing a goal by the Stags in the period, which allowed them to escape with the one goal victory.
After a Noah Deer goal that got the scoring started for CMS, Whittier went on to outscore the Stags 6-2 over the ensuing 11 minutes. Leading 6-4 at the break, the Poets saw their margin cut to one early in the third following yet another goal from Deer but Tim Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.) would come up big for the Purple & Gold adding two of his own that kept the differential at two.
With 1:51 to play, Deer would add his fifth goal of the game to pull the Stags within one. After trading empty possessions, the Poets were content on holding the ball and run the clock with under a minute left. With the shot clock winding down, Whittier took a shot looking to ice the game but it would get denied by Stag keeper Ethan Lewis with under :20 seconds to play. Then on the final possession, sophomore Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) came up with his two biggest saves of the game within seconds of each other that preserved the one goal victory.
Aakhus finished with five goals for the Poets and Ersoz collected 12 saves and four steals in the win. Whittier was outshot for the game 32-26 with neither team able to connect on a power-play opportunity.
Whittier begins their second round of SCIAC opponents this Saturday, October 21 as they travel to take on Pomona-Pitzer beginning at 11:00am.