Men's Water Polo finishes seventh at SCIAC Championship

Men's Water Polo finishes seventh at SCIAC Championship

LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne men's water polo team went 2-2 at the 2015 SCIAC Championship Tournament to finish seventh.

Game 1: Whittier 12, La Verne 11

Whittier fired off its first goal with only 17 seconds off the clock. The first quarter was back and forth with each Poet goal being answered by the Leopards.

The second quarter started with a 2-0 Leopard push but Massimiliano Mirarchi scored two back-to-back unanswered goals to tie it up at 5-5.

After the half, a Poet ejection led to a bullet to the back of the net by Chad Castro to give the Leopards a 7-6 lead, but Bryan Jimenez earned his third ejection early on in the third and was forced to sit the rest of the game. Andrew Phillips earned a penalty shot which Troy Williams slammed into the back of the net. Immediately after, Jared Hopley earned another penalty shot which Williams again rocketed into the goal to give La Verne the 10-8 lead. Mirarchi fueled the Poet offense earning a 2-1 breakaway which Justin Pratt scored and a bullet through traffic to tie it up at 10-10.

Rayn Batchelor breaks a four minute silence with a sleeper after a Poet ejection giving the Leopards a 11-10 lead but Eoghan Foley blasts one past Ian Hernandez to tie it up at 11-11 with just over two minutes remaining. With 1:33 remaining, Mirarchi scored what would be the game-winner for the Poets.

Mirarchi lead the Poets with six, Troy Williams led La Verne with three. 

Game 2: La Verne 14, Caltech 10

The Leopards and the Beavers took to a slow start but once they woke up, both teams were firing on all cylinders. Billy Bloomquist and James Blackwood led the attack for Caltech, scoring two each, while Joshua Vega netted three for the Leopards. The first half boasted a total of 14 goals with the halftime score of 7-7.

Jared Hopley blasted a skip shot past Sharuya Gilani to open up scoring in the second half. Chad Castro scored after a pass into set was nearly tipped away to give La Verne a two point cushion. Gilani broke the Leopards momentum but the Beavers couldn't translate two exclusions in points on the board. 

La Verne was able to draw a penalty shot but Gilani came in clutch against the big arm of Bryan Jimenez. Caltech rode the momentum after Christopher Bradley netted a big goal against Ian Hernandez then a rocket to the back of the cage after a Leopard exclusion. Andrew Phillips regained the two-point cushion when he got the putback after a shot by Castro. Troy Williams opened up a three-point lead and La Verne never looked back.

Joshua Vega and Jared Hopely scored three each for the Leopards, Christopher Bradley had five for the Beavers.

Game 3: Pomona-Pitzer 10, La Verne 9

Phillip Clayman opened up the game for the Sagehens but Joshua Vega followed close behind to even out the score at 1-1. Clayman converted an exclusion on the Leopards to give the Sagehens a one-point lead. Jared Hopley slams one home to keep it even at 2-2. 

Neil Forsythe sends one to the back of the net from the left side, followed by James Baker earning his second goal of the game and increasing the Sagehen lead to 5-2. Ryan Batchelor scored on an exclusion against Pomona-Pitzer to cut cushion down to two. La Verne rode the momentum in halftime when Makai DeNeve-Arnam, Vega, and Hopley scored three in a row to take the lead 6-5 in favor of the Leopards.

Clayman picked up his third goal of the game when he tied it up at 6-6. Ian Hernandez stepped out of the goal to break up a Sagehen transition and it almost cost him as Nic Lanker's shot nearly drifted into the cage, Chad Castro sprinted to make the save. The Sagehens would not slow down and scored three in a row unanswered to take back the lead with some cushion at 8-6. A mistimed reentry cost the Sagehens a 5M penalty shot which Bryan Jimenez skipped past Daniel Diemer to cut the lead back to 8-7. 

Sagehens Baker and Timmy Hardman each connected to push the cushion back to two, but Castro and Jimenez goals were not enough to overcome the deficit and Pomona-Pitzer took the win 10-9.

Baker scored three for the Sagehens and Jimenez, Vega, and Hopley combined for six in favor of La Verne.

Game 4: La Verne 6, Occidental 5

The first half was all La Verne. The Leopards found the back of the net twice and blanked the Tigers in the first quarter. After Chad Castro found the back of the cage for the second time, William Kim was able to skip one past Ian Hernandez to put Occidental on the board at 4-1. After a double exclusion leaves both teams down a man, the Leopards earned another exclusion to gain the five-on-four advantage which Andrew Phillips tipped into the goal. The Leopards finished the half on top 5-1.

The second half saw Oxy on the attack. The Tiger capitalized on a slow start by the Leopards and cut the lead to 6-4 with goals from Matt Munet, Dominic Rodriguez, and Paul Bergevin. With less than a minute remaining, the Tigers continued their push and picked up a bullet from Bergevin to cut the lead to one, but La Verne spread the pool to run down time and take the win 6-5.

Castro picked up two goals in the win for the Leopards, Bergevin once again led the Tigers in scoring with two.