The fourth-seeded University of Redlands men's water polo team traveled to Whittier on Friday evening to take on the top-seeded Poets in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament Semifinal. Although the Bulldogs struck first and held a 3-1 lead through the first, the Poets found their rhythm in the second half to take the game, 12-7.
Senior attacker Kyle Jackson (Naperville, IL) made an immediate impact at the start of the contest, winning the first quarter sprint and scoring on Redlands' first drive of the game to go up 1-0 just 26 seconds into the game.
After Whittier scored, and multiple defensive blocks from both teams, senior attacker Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA) banged one home to take the lead at 2-1 with 2:27 left in the first. Two minutes later, senior center Cooper Krause (Denver, CO) found the back of the net to stretch the lead to 3-1. The Poets got off one more shot in the first period but junior goalkeeper Chris Martinez (Santa Ana, CA) was there to make the stop.
Whittier tied things up in the second quarter to head into halftime knotted at 3-3.
The Bulldogs repeated their first-quarter effort but this time senior attacker Spencer Allen (Long Beach, CA) won the sprint that led to a goal by senior center defender Carl Matthews (Yorba Linda, CA) to quickly go up 4-3.
However, the Poets scored the next two to put the Bulldogs in a slight 4-5 hole.
At the 4:08-minute mark in the third quarter, Whittier quickly made its way to Redlands' end of the pool. However, Martinez came out of the cage, making a huge one-v-one save to keep the score close.
Whittier continued to pepper Redlands' goal, but Martinez came up with two more huge saves in the ensuing two minutes.
Offensive fouls plagued both teams as play went back-and-forth from one end of the pool to another through the next couple of minutes in the third. But momentum started to shift in favor of the Poets to go up 7-4 at the end of the third.
Kerwin stopped the momentum in its tracks with a goal to start the fourth and pull within two at 5-7.
However, Whittier went on a 5-2 run to close out the fourth, handing Redlands an unfortunate 7-12 loss.
Jackson led the team with three goals while Martinez made 13 saves in goal.
The Bulldogs completed their historic season with a 15-15 overall record and 8-6 mark in conference while making the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the first time since the events inception in 2017.