Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. - The 2018 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Men's Water Polo Postseason Tournament is set to begin this Friday, November 16 on the campuses of the first and second seeds.
Whittier (15-13) who comes in as the two-seed will host third-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS). Both teams notched 10-4 records in SCIAC competition during the season with the Poets gaining the second seed on a tiebreaker. Whittier and the Stags will meet at 7 p.m. in Whittier, Calif.
Whittier and CMS also played twice during the regular season with the Stags edging the Poets, 11-10 on September 29, while Whittier won the second meeting by the same 11-10 score.
Whittier is led offensively by the tandem of Eric Borunda (Whittier, Calif.) and Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden) who have fired in 49 and 48 goals respectively. Zdolsek added 39 goals in league play, while Borunda scored 28 times. Goalie Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) has made 141 saves against SCIAC foes this season and turned away 173 shots in all competitions. The Poets have won two straight, and seven of their last nine games entering playoff action.
CMS's William Clark has been a catalyst for the Stags, notching 31 assists, 17 in conference play, while Zack Rossman led the team in goals in conference play with 27. In goal, Noah Smith and Matt Tran collected 122 and 121 saves in all competition, with Smith edging Tran in saves against SCIAC teams, 78-74. CMS enters tournament play looking to snap two-game losing slide and is 5-5 in its last 10 outings.
Friday's other semifinal matchup features the top-seeded Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer who enter postseason tournament action with a 22-8 overall record highlighted by a 14-0 ledger in SCIAC play. The Sagehens host fourth-seeded California Lutheran (16-11 overall) which received a bid to the league playoffs by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Redlands. The Kingsmen travel to Claremont, Calif. boasting an 8-6 mark in SCIAC action. The semifinal contest is set for 7 p.m.
Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Lutheran met twice in the regular season with the Sagehens earning a 14-7 win on September 29, and a 17-7 win on October 31.
The winners of the semifinal matchups will the square off in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament final Sunday, November 18 on the campus of the highest remaining seed.