Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team suffered their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) loss Wednesday night 10-9 to Claremont-M-S.
The Purple & Gold held a two-goal lead at halftime but saw CMS comeback with four unanswered and the game-winner from Zach Rossman as they drop to 14-12, 10-1 SCIAC. The Top-Ranked Poets who have gone through conference play untouched faced a tough match-up with the Stags and couldn't overcome 13 turnovers, which proved costly.
Whittier and Claremont-M-S swapped goals early with Eric Borunda (Whittier, Calif.) getting fed by Maxwell Murphy (Orinda, Calif.) to start things off. Ricardo Reyes Jr. (Commerce, Calif.) and Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden) then answered soon after giving WC a 3-1 lead after the 1st Quarter.
A 5-meter to open up the 2nd frame sparked a 3-1 run for the Stags as they moved the score into a tie at 4-4. Whittier though was able to tack on another two with under two minutes to play from Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.) and Reyes Jr. that gave the Poets a 6-4 lead at the break.
Out of the half CMS came out tough with four unanswered that swung the momentum. Borunda was able to stop the run with a power-play connection with 1:39 left in the 3rd quarter, but WC still trailed 8-7. Murphy got the scoring started in the 4th Quarter with an unassisted tally coming on a 6-on-5 advantage that tied things up. A couple possessions later CMS then went back on top thanks to Will Clark earning a man-advantage. But again this lead wouldn't hold as Dominick Nevarez (Norwalk, Calif.) would pick up his first goal of the game with 3:52 to play coming off a feed from Kaan Hamurculu (Istanbul, Turkey).
The eventual game-winner came from Zach Rossman who was able to find an opening on the back-side with 2:05 to play. Whittier had one final look from Nevarez with :04 seconds remaining but his shot would get stopped by Stag keeper Noah Smith.
Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkley) who is back from injury played all 32:00 minutes between the posts and finished with 11 saves. Whittier and Claremont-M-S finished tied on shots at 27-27 and the Poets were at a .500 clip on power-plays at 4-for-8.
Murphy finished with a goal and an assist. Zdolsek added a goal, an assist and a steal and Reyes Jr. added two tallies with a steal.
Whittier returns home to the Lillian Slade Aquatic Center this Saturday, November 9 when they host Pomona-Pitzer beginning at 4:00pm.