Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – After a strong start to 2017 last weekend during the Whittier Open, the Whittier College Men's Water Polo team took to the Inland Empire Classic where they took on Claremont-M-S and Concordia (Calif.).
Both games came down to the final possession with the Purple & Gold ending up on the losing end of both contests falling 7-6 to the Stags and 10-9 to the Eagles.
Game 1 (Claremont-M-S; L, 7-6)
The Poets looked strong throughout game one of the Classic but couldn't hold a 6-2 lead with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter as CMS would go on to score five unanswered to edge Whittier 7-6.
Tyler Fields (Norwalk, Calif.) gave the Poets an early lead at the 6:30 mark in the first quarter but the Stags would answer right back to grab their first lead of the game with two of their own.
Whittier though would respond right away but this time from freshman Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.) who would tack on two of his own near the end of the first quarter that would give WC back the lead at 3-2.
Out of the break, Cornelis Kriek (Pretoria, South Africa) would add insurance for the Poets on their first possession moving the deficit to four, but that lead wouldn't hold as CMS would tack on three to end the third before adding the equalizer and game-winner in the fourth.
CMS outshot WC 23-20 on the day, but the Poets managed to hold the Stags empty on man-up opportunities at 0-11. Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) played all 32:00 in between the posts and picked up 11 saves and a steal in the loss.
Game 2 (Concordia; L, 10-9)
Whittier came back in game two and found themselves in another tightly contested match-up with Concordia.
It was a slow start as each team found the back of the goal in the first quarter with the Poets lone goal coming from Heredia Viteri. The offense picked up in the second quarter with a combined eight goals being scored but the game still remained deadlocked at the break (5-5).
Aakhus put WC on top 2-1 early in the second and Heredia Viteri, Kriek, and Marc-Andre Roy (Montreal, Canada) would add the final touches on the high scoring stanza.
Out of the break Aakhus and Justin Contreras (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) would find the back of the goal to give WC a slight 7-6 lead after three quarters of play. But for the second straight game this late lead wouldn't hold as the Poets would get outscored 4-2 over the final eight minutes, which included a 5-Meter being the eventual game winner with 1:22 to play.
Ersoz again played all 32:00 in goal with double digit saves with 10 and two steals.
Whittier outshot the Eagles 34-31 but was 1-9 on man-up opportunities. Heredia Viteri led the offense with three goals and an assist.
Whittier returns to action next weekend, September 16-17 as they travel to Davis, Calif. to take part in the Aggie Round-Up. Over the two days the Poets will take on four Division opponents in Santa Clara, San Jose State, Long Beach State, and Pepperdine, while matching up against MIT for the fifth game.