Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team opened up the Gary Troyer Tournament Friday with a pair of Nationally Ranked opponents in No. 9 UC San Diego and No. 16 Cal Baptist University.
Whittier battled in both games but fell 12-7 to the Tritons and 12-11 to the Lancers. The Purple & Gold now drop to 6-9, 3-0 SCIAC.
Game 1 (No. 9 UC San Diego; L, 12-7)
The Tritons got off to a strong start with five straight all coming on power plays. It wasn't until the 2:52 mark in the 2nd quarter that Dominick Nevarez (Norwalk, Calif.) would get WC on the scoreboard, which was then followed by a connection from Eric Borunda (Whittier, Calif.) that made the score 6-2. UCSD responded after that with another two tallies from Turnbow-Lindenstadt, but with :05 seconds to play in the frame Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.) was able to sneak one past National Team goalie Jack Turner to make it a four-goal game at the break.
Out of the break the Poets got their offense going with back-to-back goals from Maxwell Murphy (Orinda, Calif.) and Micah Kamai (Irvine, Calif). This made it a two-goal game with 5:33 to play in the third. UCSD countered though with an ensuing 4-1 run to close out the period moving the score to 11-6. The other tally from Whittier came from Enrico Antunes (Sao Paulo, Brazil) capitalizing on a power play.
Over the final 8:00 minutes it was a defensive stand with each team adding a goal. The Tritons struck first with 5:25 to play and Whittier received theirs at the 2:10 mark from Ricardo Reyes Jr. (Commerce, Calif.)
Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) had a strong game between the posts finishing with seven saves.
Whittier outshot the Tritons 26-24 and was 3-for-9 on power plays. Seven different players scored for the game with Nevarez and Mackenzie Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.) adding assists.
Game 2 (No. 16 Cal Baptist University; L, 12-11)
In a much anticipated match-up in Game 2 with the Lancers, the Poets got out of the door quickly putting up four goals in the 1st quarter, with two coming on power plays. Tallies came from Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden), Nevarez, Borunda, and Cornelis Kriek (Pretoria, South Africa) as WC led 4-2.
The momentum shifted in the second period with CBU outscoring the Poets 5-2. The Lancers strung together three in a row before Murphy connected for his first of the game at the 4:53 mark. Then with 2:19 to play in the half Antunes would convert a 6-on-5 that pulled Whittier within one at 7-6.
The Purple & Gold got back on track in the 3rd with Zdolsek, Heredia Viteri, and Borunda each finding the back of the net to put WC on top 10-9 as they would outscore CBU 4-2.
But it would be a tough 4th quarter and three unanswered that would prove to be the outcome of the game. California Baptist scored on their opening possession of the period and that would spark a 3-0 run with Logan Mena adding two that put CBU on top 12-10. Nevarez was able to cut the deficit to one with :28 seconds to play but it wouldn't be enough to spark a comeback.
Whittier outshot California Baptist 37-26 and was 3-for-6 on power plays. Defensively they were tough holding CBU to just 1-for-9 shooting on man-up situations. Ersoz played all 32:00 minutes and finished with seven stops. Zdolsek led the way with three goals and a pair of steals and Nevarez chipped in with two strikes and two picks.
Whittier wraps up the Gary Troyer tournament today, Saturday, October 4 as they take on Johns Hopkins (11:40am) and Air Force (5:00pm). Both games will be played at Axelrood Pool on the campus of Claremont-M-S.