Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
BERKELEY, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team capped off their trip to Berkeley, Calif. during NOR CALS with an upset victory 11-9 over Division I No. 18 San Jose State.
It was a tough tournament for the Purple & Gold playing four Top 20 Division I opponents. But they stood strong after a lopsided loss to No. 3 UC Berkeley, to push No. 11 Princeton (15-9), No. 19 Santa Clara (19-13), and No. 18 San Jose State (11-9).
Game 2 (No. 11 Princeton; L, 15-9)
For the first game of day two of NOR CALS, the Poets matched up against the Princeton Tigers. Tim Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.) got the Purple & Gold on the scoreboard with a goal at the 6:47 mark. Princeton would rally back with three unanswered to go in front 3-1 before Massimiliano Mirarchi (Rome, Italy) would get into the scoring category following an exclusion.
The Tigers would use a man-up opportunity to extend their lead to two at the start of the second but Mirarchi would again come down to pull WC within one at 4-3.
Julian Droetti (Irvine, Calif.) tied things up with 5:00 to play in the half but a 3-1 run by the Tigers would move the score to 7-5 heading into intermission.
Princeton got a quick two out of the break to extend their lead to 9-5. Wedge Molthen (Buena Park, Calif.) and Aakhus would try and keep Whittier close with another two goals but the Tigers would run away with the frame with four straight that put the game out of reach.
In the final eight minutes, Mirarchi and Mihailo Vuja (Belgrade, Serbia) would add back to back goals but it wouldn't be enough as Princeton would hold on for the six goal victory.
Mirarchi finished with four goals to lead Whittier.
Game 3 (No. 19 Santa Clara; L, 19-13)
In the afternoon, it didn't get any easier as the Poets would again faceoff against another Division I opponent in Santa Clara. At the end of the first period, the game was deadlocked at 3-3 with goals coming from Mirarchi, Droetti, and Emilio Maldonado (Chula Vista, Calif.).
In the second, it was just one goal after the next with a combined 13 being scored in eight minutes.
Santa Clara outscored the Poets 8-5 that gave them an 11-8 lead at the half. Mirarchi scored three goals in the frame.
The offense continued in the third quarter with Whittier outscoring the Broncos 4-3 led by Mirarchi who again added three. This pulled WC within two at 14-12 but that's as close as they would get as they would get outscored 5-1 in the final period with the lone goal coming from Marko Miocic (Great Neck, NY).
Mirarchi finished with seven goals for the game.
Game 4 (No. 18 San Jose State; W, 11-9)
The Poets finally broke through in the final match-up of the tournament. They took on No. 18 San Jose State and came away with an upset victory.
Mirarchi connected on his first two shot attempts to put WC in front 2-0. He added his third minutes later that moved the score to 3-1 before a rally by the Spartans would tie things up at 3-3. But with :14 seconds to play, Whittier would regain the lead from Vuja who added a man-up goal.
Whittier held San Jose State scoreless in the second period, while Vuja and Mirarchi combined for another two goals putting WC in front 6-3 at the intermission.
In the third, Whittier edged out the Spartans 4-3 with Mirarchi adding another two that moved the score to 10-6.
In the final eight minutes, SJSU made one final push outscoring the Poets 3-1 but it wouldn't be enough as Whittier would hold on for the two-goal upset stunner.
Mirarchi finished the game with six goals.
Whittier returns to action this weekend, Saturday, October 1 during the Cal Baptist where they will take on host Cal Baptist (10:40am) and Redlands (4:00pm)