The University of Redlands men's water polo team traveled to Whittier College to compete in the Poets' Mini-Tournament on opening weekend. While facing three opponents on Saturday, the Bulldogs stayed cool in the high-intensity games, earning victories over Citrus College and Los Angeles Valley College, but dropped their final game to hosts from Whittier.
In the first game against Citrus, the Owls put Redlands in a 2-4 hole through the first quarter. In the second, the Bulldogs upped the energy and put five through the posts off the hands of four different goal-scorers, with sophomore attack Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA) responsible for two of them. Senior utility player Max Taylor (Henderson, NV) executed an incredible second half by banging home five goals for a total of eight in the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Braeden Shaw (Yorba Linda, CA) made seven saves en route to the Bulldogs' 16-10 victory.
Late that day, the Maroon and Gray faced off against LA Valley College. Redlands had to battle back from a slight 3-4 deficit after the first quarter. The Bulldogs did just that by outscoring their opponents, 4-1, in the second. Junior attack Ty Williams (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) supplied half of the goals for Redlands. The Monarchs took control of the third with a 4-2 scoring run to knot the score at nine apiece. Each team notched three goals through the fourth quarter for a 12-12 stalemate. With 21 seconds left on the clock, Taylor rocketed a shot past the Monarchs' keeper for the exciting and eventual game-winner. Williams ended the game with three goals, one assist, and four steals, while Taylor added two netters. Shaw and freshman goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) split time between the posts and combined for 12 stops.
In the nightcap against Whittier, both teams played a nearly identical game with each scoring three goals in the first, two in the third, and threes in the fourth, with the only difference being Whittier's 3-2 advantage in the second stanza. Even the goalies experienced a near balanced game, with Shaw and Martinez making 12 saves, while the Poet keeper made 11. Some fresh faces made their mark in this game for the Bulldogs, as freshman utility player Jasen Swan (Glendora, CA) and freshman attack Aaron White (San Jose, CA) each netted a score. Junior utility player Mitchell Walker (Taylorsville, UT) played his best game of the day by dishing out two goals and two assists.
Redlands (2-1) looks to return to the win column during the two-day Inland Empire Classic at the Thompson Aquatic Center on Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, September 10. The Bulldogs' first opponent is Occidental College on Saturday at 9 a.m.