Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team earned the program's first trip to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Post Season Tournament final Friday night as they rolled Chapman University 14-9 at the Lillian Slade Aquatic Center.
The Purple & Gold have now completed the clean sweep over the Panthers on the season improving to 3-0, while moving to 17-11, 12-2 SCIAC.
Whittier enters the finale winning their last three and will face off against Pomona-Pitzer who beat Claremont-M-S 13-10 in the other semi-final.
On the season WC is 1-1 against the Sagehens beating them back on September 20 7-6 in OT before falling on the road 10-9 on October 21. It was a battle all night and it proved to be a physical one too as a combined 17 exclusions were called in the game along with three yellow cards being issued.
Chapman scored on their opening possession but WC responded quickly with Cornelis Kriek (Pretoria, South Africa) and Tyler Fields (Norwalk, Calif.) connecting. Chapman came back and stole the lead soon after but that would be the last lead they would hold as the Poets played to a 4-4 draw at the end of the 1st before outscoring the Panthers 5-2 in the second frame. Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.) opened up the scoring, tacked on another and was joined by Tim Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.), Fields, and Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden) moving the score to 9-6 at the break.
In the third, Whittier managed to hold a slight edge at 4-3 after opening up the stanza with back to back tallies from Zdolsek and Heredia Viteri. Chapman rebounded nicely ending the run with a pair but Heredia Viteri would again add another two that kept the margin at four.
The final quarter proved to be a defensive battle despite the Purple & Gold holding possession a majority of the 8:00 minutes. Whittier added one goal from Heredia Viteri with :20 seconds to play but shutout CU picking up the tough home win.
Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) again proved big time between the posts totaling 15 saves along with three steals. Heredia Viteri added five goals, three assists and three steals, with Zdolsek tacked on another three with an assist and two picks.
Whittier looks to gain the AQ into the National Championships as they travel to take on Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC Post Season Tournament final this Sunday, November 19 beginning at 11:00am.