Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team saw their winning streak come to an end Saturday morning in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship game as they fell 9-7 to Pomona-Pitzer.
The Sagehens have now won back-to-back SCIAC Championships and have now earned their second straight trip to the National Championships.
The Purple & Gold had won three straight heading into the Championship, which included a convincing 14-9 win over Chapman University in the semi-finals but couldn't complete the ultimate feat of grabbing the AQ bid.
It was the third time this season the Poets and Sagehens faced off with the previous two meetings being decided by a goal. Whittier wraps up their 2017 season 17-12, 12-2 SCIAC and finish 2nd in the final SCIAC Standings.
Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.) got the Poets on the scoreboard getting fed by Tim Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.) at the 6:14 mark. Three minutes later they swapped roles as Heredia Viteri found Aakhus for the equalizer but with a second left in the frame, PP was able to add the go-ahead connection from Riley Mangan.
Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden) and Aiden Tol (Tustin, Calif.) combined for two quick goals to start off the second putting WC in front 4-3 but again the Sagehens were able to answer this time from Mark Hallman who moved the score to 4-4 at the break.
A combined five goals were added in the third. Aakhus and Heredia Viteri again connected to start off the frame but PP was able to go back-to-back to reclaim the lead. Marc-Andre Roy (Montreal, Canada) found the back of the net for his first of the game at the 3:15 mark but that lead was short-lived as Dylan Eliott put Pomona-Pitzer back on top 7-6 with an unassisted tally.
In the fourth, PP pulled away moving the deficit to three with two quick goals with 4:35 to play. This forced Whittier to pick it up on the offensive end as Zdolsek tallied his third of the game with 2:16 left but that would be the final strike the Poets would get as PP would hold on for the two-goal victory taking the season series 2-1.
Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) played between the posts and totaled 13 saves and two steals. Zdolsek led the offense with three goals and an assist. Aakhus added two with an assist and Heredia Viteri tacked on a goal with two assists.
Whittier outshot Pomona-Pitzer 30-28 but was a mere 2-11 on power-plays.