The University of Redlands men's water polo team hosted six more games of the 2018 Inland Empire Classic at the Thompson Aquatic Center on Sunday in an impressive display of high-quality competition. Pomona-Pitzer Colleges' triple-overtime win started the day off on an exciting note while the Bulldogs finished the event with a hard-fought 13-11 victory over Riverside City College.
Pomona-Pitzer vs. UC Irvine:
First, Pomona-Pitzer rallied back from a four-goal deficit to eventually force UC Irvine to overtime on a crazy last-second goal. The Sagehens completed the comeback in a wild 11-10 victory in triple overtime. Trailing 4-8 with about two minutes to go in the third quarter, the Sagehens refused to go away and outscored the Anteaters, 8-5, in the final 16 minutes. The tying goal came at the buzzer after a Pomona-Pitzer exclusion, a UCI pass to the goalkeeper that was intercepted, and an immediate netter by Adam Gross. During the extra frames, there seemed to be a lid on the cage, as every shot bounced off the post or flew wide. In the third overtime, physical play ensued and resulted in a tough, five-meter penalty against UCI, which Pomona-Pitzer's Joseph Schafer successfully buried for the golden goal. Schafer finished with a hat trick, while Irvine's Jack Trush scored four. Pomona-Pitzer's goalkeeper James Kelbert recorded 14 saves and two steals in an impressive effort.
Redlands vs. Pepperdine:
The Bulldogs jumped into action against the Pepperdine University Waves for Sunday's second game of the day. A hot start by Pepperdine left the home team with a heavy, 7-21 loss. Pepperdine's Balazs Kosa uncorked four goals and one assist, while Chris Dilworth added a hat trick and an assist. Redlands gained two goals apiece from junior attacker Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA) and junior center Cooper Krause (Denver, CO).
Pomona-Pitzer vs. RCC:
Riding high from their earlier win, the Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer kept that momentum with a 14-5 decision over Riverside City College. An effective 8-2 start kept Pomona-Pitzer in front until the game's end. Eleven different players found the back of the net for the Sagehens, including Sam Gorcey-Biblowitz with two goals and one assist. RCC gained two scores from Norbert Kovacs.
Redlands vs. UCI:
A quick start by UCI forced Redlands into catch-up mode during the fourth match on Sunday. The Anteaters stormed out to a 7-1 advantage through the first half and never looked back en route to the 15-7 decision over the Bulldogs. UCI looked to the stellar play of Jason Evezard, who blasted six goals and dished out one assist. Anteater goalkeeper Byron Rivers made 10 stops between the posts. Redlands' only player to score twice was sophomore utility player Jasen Swan (Glendora, CA).
Pomona-Pitzer vs. Pepperdine:
Pepperdine stayed hot in its second match of the day, as the Waves built a 6-0 lead through the first quarter before hauling in a 21-9 victory over Pomona-Pitzer. Kosa and Dilsworth each uncorked four goals in the winning cause, while Kosa also added three assists. The Waves' goalkeeper minimized Pomona-Pitzer's chances by registering 14 saves and one steal. The Sagehens gained a hat trick from Cade Curry.
Redlands vs. RCC:
In the final match of the tournament, the Bulldogs held off a late push by the Tigers to secure their only win of the weekend, which came off a 13-11 showing over RCC. Redlands earned an 8-5 lead by the midway point of the game, which included a last-second goal by senior attacker Grant Curry (San Diego, CA) to close out the Maroon and Gray's lucrative first quarter. Although RCC out-scored the Bulldogs, 3-1, in the final eight minutes, the final outcome remained in favor of the home team. Junior attacker Spencer Allen (Seal Beach, CA), sophomore attacker Chris Frejlach (Rancho Cucamonga, CA), senior center Billy Clifford (Redlands, CA), junior attacker Tyler Strable (Canyon Lake, CA), and Krause each scored twice in the win. Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) put together a solid outing in the cage with four saves and one steal.
Redlands (2-7) hosts the University of La Verne in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener on Wednesday, September 19, at 7 p.m.