The University of Redlands men's water polo team took on quality opponents in the opening day of the 2019 Inland Empire Classic at the Thompson Aquatic Center on Saturday, earning a 1-2 record against quality opponents. After falling in a hard-fought match to the Air Force Academy, 8-13, the Bulldogs bounced back to top Fresno Pacific University, 12-10. The Maroon and Gray's day wrapped up with a
In the opener, Air Force and Redlands endured a back-and-forth defensive battle that resulted in a 1-1 tie through eight minutes of action. However, the Falcons erupted for a 6-3 scoring advantage in the second to earn a 7-4 halftime lead. The Bulldogs stayed in the hunt with consecutive goals by senior attacker Kyle Jackson (Naperville, IL), senior center Cooper Krause (Denver, CO), and senior attacker Spencer Allen (Long Beach, CA) by the 6:10-mark of the third.
But Air Force managed to pull away with a four-goal fourth quarter to earn the 13-8 decision.
Allen paced the Maroon and Gray with four goals and three steals, while Krause added two scores. First-year goalkeeper Liam Murphy (Placentia, CA) recorded 10 saves in a solid effort between the posts.
Against Fresno Pacific, the Bulldogs used a strong showing in the final two quarters to overtake the Sunbirds in an exciting 12-10 win. The tight contest saw FPU hold a slight 6-5 advantage by the midway point of the game. Junior attacker Chris Frejlach (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) scored a key penalty late in the second quarter to put the momentum in Redlands' hands. Senior attacker Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA) came out firing and scored twice in the Bulldogs' early possession, while junior attacker Jasen Swan (Glendora, CA) and Allen converted goals to make it, 9-6, for the home team.
However, FPU pulled three of those back to even the tally once again.
The teams traded scores over the next few minutes, with Allen notching a sweet power-play netter at the 5:48-mark of the fourth.
After a huge defensive stop, Redlands gained the go-ahead goal from Swan off Allen's assist with 49 seconds remaining. A key save by junior goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) set up senior center-defender Carl Matthews; (Yorba Linda, CA) insurance goal with seven ticks on the clock for the Bulldogs' thrilling 12-10 victory.
Allen, Kerwin, Krause, Frejlach, and Swan each scored twice for the Bulldogs. Allen also recorded two assists and three steals in a fine showing.
The Bulldogs faced a formidable foe in UCSB in the final game of the day. Redlands battled the Gauchos early but suffered a 4-18 loss. Kerwin, Krause, sophomore attacker Tor Cole (Malibu, CA), and first-year attacker Reed Caron (Rancho Murrieta, CA) each recorded a goal for the Maroon and Gray.
The Bulldogs (3-4) square off against Ottawa University of Arizona at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday before facing Pepperdine University at 3:45 p.m. The day concludes with a showdown against Riverside City College at 5 p.m.