Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team saw their 2016 season come to a close during the 3rd Place game in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships.
It was a high scoring affair that needed overtime to determine the victor. The Bulldogs of the University of Redlands, who came in seeded No. 4 pulled out the 19-18 comeback win. Whittier wraps up the season 19-13, 8-3 SCIAC.
Despite holding a five goal lead early in the fourth quarter, the Purple & Gold were unable to hold on as Redlands rallied to tie things up forcing overtime before eventually putting away the game winner late in the second overtime session.
The Poets came out hot adding the first four goals of the game from Massimiliano Mirarchi (Rome, Italy), Tyler Fields (Norwalk, Calif.), and Marco Miocic (Great Neck, NY). UR stopped the bleeding with 3:03 to play in the quarter but again Mirarchi extended the Poet lead with another three strikes that helped make the score 7-3 after the first eight minutes.
The second quarter was a defensive stand with each team scoring twice in the frame. Mirarchi added another goal and was joined by Tim Aakhus (Bakersfield, Calif.) that made the score 9-5 at the break.
The Bulldogs managed to outscore the Poets 4-3 in the third quarter but they still trailed but this time by only three at 12-9. Goals were balanced with Julian Droetti (Irvine, Calif.), Hunter Pelletier (Miami, FL), and Aidan Tol (Tustin, Calif.) finding the back of the net.
Aakhus, Droetti, and Mirarchi got the Poets back on track early in the fourth quarter extending the Poet lead to 15-9 with 5:19 to play but that lead wouldn't hold as Redlands would rally to score seven of the final eight goals in the period. The equalizer coming with :10 seconds to play as the Bulldogs would convert on a five-meter that sent the game into OT.
Mirarchi added the first two goals in the first overtime session that put the Purple & Golf back on top at 18-16. Redlands would then convert on a man-up opportunity with under :10 seconds to play that cut the deficit in half.
In the final overtime period, Redlands found the equalizer with 1:22 to play and then with :15 seconds left on the clock, they would convert on a long range shot that gave them the come from behind victory.
Mirarchi led the Poets in offense totaling eight goals, while Aakhus registered three.