The University of Redlands men's water polo team jumped into action at the Rare Air – Air Force Invitational on Friday, earning split results against tough opponents. The Bulldogs used a second-half push to prevail over Lindenwood University (MO) in a 12-10 decision before falling to the hosts by a score of 7-15.
Against the Lions, the Maroon and Gray started off slow and faced an uphill battle by the midway point of the game. Trailing 1-5, the Bulldogs worked to recover with a methodical comeback in the final two periods. It began with senior center defender Carl Matthew's (Yorba Linda, CA) first goal of the game early in the third quarter. From here, senior attackers Spencer Allen (Long Beach, CA) and Kyle Jackson (Naperville, IL) joined the attack, before senior center Cooper Krause (Denver, CO) found the back of the net on consecutive scores. Redlands finally tied it up at seven apiece off tallies by sophomore attacker Tor Cole (Malibu, CA) and sophomore center-defender Bradley Clinton (Long Beach, CA).
The fourth quarter saw the Bulldogs eke out the win with tenacious play on both ends of the pool. Jackson scored twice, including a penalty, while Allen fired off the game-winning goal with 2:26 remaining. With an insurance goal on its next possession, Redlands held on for the victory.
Junior goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) stepped up with 11 saves and a steal, while Jackson provided four goals and Matthews scored three times.
During their second game of the day, the Bulldogs struggled out of the gates once again and faced a 2-8 deficit through two quarters. They worked to respond in the third, as first-year center Conner Strable (Canyon Lake, CA) converted a penalty and first-year center-defender Michael Maher (Fremont, CA) fired off a goal.
Despite putting together their most productive quarter, the Bulldogs came up short in a 7-15 loss.
Martinez provided nine saves, as Allen snagged five steals.
Redlands (1-1) concludes the tournament by taking on Salem University (WV) at 8:45 a.m. and George Washington University (DC) at 1:30 p.m.