Redlands' Rally Falls Short in Tight Men's Water Polo Loss to Whittier
The University of Redlands men's water polo team hosted the Poets of Whittier College in a gritty, physical contest on Saturday. Despite a valiant, late-game comeback, the Bulldogs never recovered from an early deficit en route to the 14-15 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) loss.
After a back-and-forth start to the match, the Poets pulled ahead by one or two goals through three intense periods.
With 5:59 to go in the final frame, Redlands faced its largest deficit at 8-12.
Nonetheless, the Maroon and Gray came up with some big defensive stops while firing off three consecutive goals to pull within one at 11-12. During this stretch, Redlands gained netters from sophomore driver Michael Robinson (Corona, CA), junior driver Clint Freeman (Brentwood, CA) and sophomore driver David Sekula (LaGrange, IL).
Whittier refused to back down and put together a 3-1 run for the 15-12 lead with less than two minutes to go.
But here came the Bulldogs with a pair of quick scores from junior driver Quinn Curl (San Mateo, CA), making it a 14-15 game with 36 seconds remaining.
On the Poets' ensuing possession, they sufficiently threw the ball away with one tick on the play-clock, forcing Redlands to attempt a pool-length score in only seven seconds.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the long pass was intercepted, prohibiting any last-second heroics to tie the score.
Curl and Robinson finished with four goals apiece, while Freeman added a hat trick as the only other multi-scorer performer from Redlands.
Junior goalkeeper Tyler Abbott (Alta Loma, CA) patrolled the Maroon and Gray cage, making nine saves, including a pair of critical ones down the stretch.
Redlands (3-16, 1-1 SCIAC) faces one of the SCIAC's undefeated teams in Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Claremont.