Bulldog Men’s Water Polo Protects Early Lead in 12-10 Victory over Occidental

Photo credit: Talia Adams
Photo credit: Talia Adams

The University of Redlands men's water polo team powered its way to a 12-10 victory over Occidental College on Saturday morning in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action. After storming out to a sizeable lead, the Bulldogs stayed in front throughout the road match against the Tigers.

The Bulldogs jumped on the board first when junior attacker Spencer Allen (Seal Beach, CA) launched a goal into the back of the net off a nice feed from junior attacker Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA). The score gave the Maroon and Gray momentum, which led to three more goals in the first quarter, including one from junior center Cooper Krause (Denver, CO) in the final 15 seconds of the stanza.

With a 4-0 advantage, the Bulldogs used the same energy early in the second quarter with a goal from Allen in the first minute of the stanza. Oxy attempted to answer on the other end, but the senior center Sean Todd (Highland, CA) blocked the shot. Allen once again outmatched the Tigers' goalkeeper with another score less than two minutes later, forcing Occidental to take a timeout. The Bulldogs took that time to conjure a goal-scoring play by senior center Billy Clifford (Redlands, CA) on Redlands' next possession to make it 7-0.

Oxy finally got on the board with 4:31 to go in the half, but the Maroon and Gray answered with another tally to keep the healthy cushion. The teams traded goals late in the quarter, with Redlands scoring in the final 12 seconds to head into the break with a 9-2 advantage.

The third quarter proved to be a defensive struggle for both teams. The Bulldogs converted on a pair of goals, while Oxy earned one to end the quarter with an 11-3 Redlands advantage.

During the fourth stanza, Occidental worked to stage a comeback with two goals within 34 seconds of each other. First-year Bradley Clinton (Cypress, CA) scored the final goal for Redlands with 4:50 to go, but the Tigers scored one of their own shortly after to make it a six-goal game.

However, Oxy caught fire and closed to within two late in the contest.  Nonetheless, Redlands maintained control of the outcome and returns home with an important conference win.

Allen led the Maroon and Gray offense with four goals while also adding a steal. The Bulldogs gained two assists from three different players, while sophomore attacker Chris Frejlach (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) also tallied a pair of steals. Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) and first-year goalkeeper Jason Gates (San Jose, CA) shared time between the posts with three and four saves, respectively.

The Bulldogs went up against a tough opponent in No. 1 USC for their second game of the day, which took place at Cal Baptist University as part of the Lancer Joust. Despite a valiant effort against the NCAA Division I team, the Maroon and Gray fell by a score of 0-13.

Redlands showed some improvement from when it played the Trojans earlier in the year during the Inland Empire Classic.

Although the Maroon and Gray faced a tough Trojan defense, Frejlach still got off three attempts on the USC goalie.  Furthermore, Allen and first-year attacker Tor Cole (Malibu, CA) managed two apiece. Gates did what he could in goal and forced the Trojans into several turnovers with three steals and also added a save. 

Redlands (4-10, 2-1 SCIAC) heads to Chapman University on Wednesday, October 3, for a 7 p.m. contest against the Panthers.