Photo by Charlie Magovern
LA VERNE, Calif. (Nov. 21, 2015) – Freshman Shaurya Gilani (Chicago, Ill. / Adlai Stevenson) racked up 38 saves in goal over just two games at the 2015 SCIAC Men's Water Polo Postseason Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
The Beavers dropped a pair of hotly contested games to Occidental College, 8-5, and the University of La Verne, 14-10.
Caltech 5, Occidental 8
Although the Tigers took a 3-0 lead over the first quarter, Gilani did everything he could to keep the game within reach over the first half as the rookie made 12 saves while allowing just four goals. The Beavers, having turned the ball over more than twice as often as they got off a shot in the first quarter, took advantage in the second, scoring three goals to Oxy's one. Caltech converted on all three exclusions drawn by senior Patrick Eck (Fullerton, Calif. / Troy), with junior Tomas Tussie (Weston, Fla. / Cypress Bay) notching first to make it a two-score game. After Oxy regained the three-goal lead, junior Christopher Bradley (Half Moon Bay, Calif. / Serra) and senior James Blackwood (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) jumped on the board late in the quarter to trim the deficit to just one (4-3) at halftime.
Oxy clung to a narrow edge in the third quarter, with Bradley cutting back the margin to two following back-to-back Tigers goals, but that was as close as Caltech would get with the higher seed matching the third quarter with another 2-1 advantage in the fourth. Freshman Billy Bloomquist (Campbell, Calif. / The Harker School) scored in the final quarter.
Caltech 10, La Verne 14
The Beavers' Saturday morning matchup was a back-and-forth affair right from the start. A quiet first four minutes finally saw Caltech take the lead via Bloomquist, but La Verne rattled off two scores within a minute to move in front. Blackwood equalized with just 34 seconds remaining, but Caltech gave away a penalty on the Leopards' final possession and the hosts converted to take a 3-2 advantage into the second quarter.
Caltech turned the tables with goals from Bradley and Blackwood at 7:45 and 5:05, then traded goals with La Verne to a 6-6 tie with 1:42 remaining. On the next possession, the Beavers drew an exclusion and Bradley converted on the man-up opportunity for a brief 7-6 lead with just 1:22 left in the half, but once again the Leopards came back with a score on the ensuing possession to keep the game level at the half.
The Leopards surged ahead with a pair of goals in the first 1:30 of the third quarter and the Beavers could not get anything going on offense. Bradley pulled Caltech within one early in the fourth quarter, but La Verne put the game away with a 5-3 edge to claim the victory. Altogether, Bradley totaled five goals while Blackwood and Bloomquist each bagged a brace, with Blackwood adding three assists.