Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Water Polo team had a tough weekend at the Inland Empire Classic facing off against No. 7 Long Beach State and No. 1 USC.
The Purple & Gold dropped both contests despite battling with both Top 10 teams. They drop to 2-4.
Game 1 (No. 7 Long Beach State; L, 16-5)
Whittier gave the 49ers all they could handle across the first quarter. After two quick goals from LBSU the Poets responded with an even strike by Carlos Heredia Viteri (Commerce, Calif.), followed by a power-play connection from Cornelis Kriek (Pretoria, South Africa). This got WC within one at 3-2 but that's as close as they would get as LBSU would outscore Whittier 13-3 over the next three frames, which included an 11-1 run that spanned from the second quarter through the third.
Whittier was outshot on the game 34-23 and was a mere 1-for-8 on power-plays. Murat Ersoz (Istanbul, Turkey) played all 32:00 minutes between the posts and finished with 10 stops and three steals.
Game 2 (No. 1 USC; L, 15-9)
The day got tougher for the Purple & Gold as they matched up with the top team in the country in No. 1 USC. Maxwell Murphy (Orinda, Calif.) and Kriek answered back to back midway through the first that tied things up. Kriek picked up another late in the second as well but WC still trailed 8-3 at the break.
A combined 10 goals were scored in the third with the Trojans holding the edge 6-4. Borunda, Hans Zdolsek (Linkoping, Sweden), and Nevarez all connected but the deficit was still seven. Over the final eight minutes Whittier managed to outscore USC 2-1 behind a pair of tallies from Nevarez and Emilio Maldonado (Chula Vista, Calif.) but they still fell by six.
Whittier was outshot 36-28 and was 2-for-9 on power-plays. Ersoz played the opening 10:50 making six stops and grabbing a steal. Dylan Woodhouse (Harare, Zimbabwe) came in relief and played the final 21:10 and added one stop.
Whittier has their final invitational this weekend, September 21-22 when they travel up north to the AGGIE Round-Up. Over the two days they will face-off against Austin College (Sept. 21 @ 9:15am), No. 6 Uni. of Pacific (Sept. 21 @ 6:00pm), RV Santa Clara University (Sept. 22 @ 8:00am), and No. 18 San Jose State (Sept. 22 @ 1:00pm).