The University of Redlands men's water polo team celebrated its seven seniors with a satisfying win over the visiting Panthers of Chapman University on Saturday morning at the Thompson Aquatic Center. After limiting the Panthers' offense early on, the Bulldogs cruised to an 11-6 victory over the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) foes.
Prior to the game, the Bulldogs recognized the careers and contributions of seniors Sean Todd (Highland, CA), Grant Curry (San Diego, CA), Billy Clifford (Redlands, CA), Ilan Dayan (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Mitchell Walker (Taylorsville, UT), Alec Todd (Highland, CA), and Ty Williams (Rancho Cucamonga, CA). Every senior played a part in the Bulldogs' important win.
Against the Panthers, Redlands' stifling defense forced the visitors to cede possession or turn the ball over in their first four opportunities. Junior attackers Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA) and Spencer Allen (Seal Beach, CA) each registered a steal for the Bulldogs during this impressive start. In addition, Dayan dished out a pass to junior center Cooper Krause (Denver, CO), who scored the opening goal of the game with 5:22 left in the first quarter.
After Chapman evened the tally, the defensive battle continued, as the score remained knotted at one until the 1:45-mark, when Kerwin found the back of the net for the Bulldogs' 2-1 lead. With a laser of a goal by Curry, Redlands stretched that advantage to f 3-1 through the first eight minutes of action.
Dayan's early netter to start the second quarter put the Bulldogs up by a 4-1 tally, but Chapman took advantage of a 6-on-5 opportunity on its subsequent possession to make it a two-goal game. Redlands quickly answered when junior utility player Kyle Jackson (Naperville, IL) scored off a nice pass from Williams with 3:04 remaining.
Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) did his part to swallow up whatever the Panthers threw at him, earning seven of his 17 saves in the second quarter alone.
During the third period, Redlands gained quality scores from Curry, Clifford, and Dayan, as the home team cruised to an 8-3 advantage.
At the start of the fourth frame, Chapman switched its goalkeeper, but the Bulldogs still managed three more goals to stay in front for the 11-6 victory. Redlands converted on a pair of power plays, as Curry completed a hat trick before Jackson delivered a dime of a pass to Dayan for his third netter of the day. In addition, A. Todd scored on a last-second shot to cap off the solid, senior-day outing for the Bulldogs.
Redlands (14-14, 8-5 SCIAC) remains in fourth place in the conference standings heading into the final week of the regular season. The Bulldogs face the third-place Poets of Whittier College in a road match on Saturday, November 10, at 11 a.m.