Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – In a re-match of the 2017 SCIAC Championship finale, the Whittier College Men's Water Polo team let an upset slip away Wednesday night as they fell 7-5 to No. 16 Pomona-Pitzer.
It all came down to the final eight minutes at the Lillian Slade Aquatic Center in front of 500 strong. The Purple & Gold led 5-3 heading into the fourth quarter but saw the Sagehens rally for four unanswered to pull off the road victory.
Whittier has now dropped their second Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match-up as they move to 4-9, 2-2 SCIAC, while Pomona-Pitzer remains perfect in conference action at 7-3, 4-0 SCIAC.
Pomona-Pitzer got things started with a goal on their opening possession but saw Whittier answer with Marc-Andre Roy (Montreal, Canada) connecting for his first of the game at the 6:38 mark. Two minutes later Nick Hyden (Melbourne, Australia) found the back of the goal putting WC on top 2-1 as he snuck behind the back line going near post.
In the second frame both teams were held off the scoreboard as the game remained a one goal deficit at the half. In the third, Roy went back to back within a two minute window that moved the score to 4-1. But that lead soon vanished as Pomona-Pitzer would pull within one capitalizing on two power-play opportunities. With a minute to play in the third, freshman Eric Borunda (Whittier, Calif.) would come alive stretching the lead back to two with a full strength goal but that would be the last time Whittier would connect as the Sagehens would put together four straight, which included a five-meter penalty that propelled them to the two goal victory.
Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) played the best game of his career totaling 22 saves in 32:00 minutes of action. He even had a sequence of four straight saves on one possession by Pomona-Pitzer, all coming with PP being a man-up.
Pomona-Pitzer outshot the Poets 35-25, but Whittier won all four sprints on the evening.
Whittier returns to non-conference action this weekend as they take part in the Gary Troyer Tournament. On October 5 they take on Washington & Jefferson (11:00am) and Fordham (3:00pm) and then returns the next day October 6 to play Connecticut College (9:00am) and Concordia (2:20pm).