PASADENA, Calif. – The men's water polo team played host to Connecticut College on Sunday in what has become an annual matchup, and Pasadena provided an ideally balmy Sunday afternoon for the contest. The Camels committed to a strong perimeter press which paved the way for a rocky start for the Beavers.
Conn's junior center, Carlos Heros, capitalized on his steal to open up the scoring just 37 seconds into the first quarter. Caltech responded two minutes later at the 6:11 mark when junior attacker, Jim Blackwood, busted a power play goal to the near upper ninety to draw the game even at one. The quarter would progress scoreless over the next four minutes until Heros got loose at the center forward position. The Camels tacked on another tally on their ensuing offensive possession. At the end of one, the Beavers trailed by a 3-1 margin.
In the second stanza, Caltech continued to earn power play opportunities, but struggled to convert. The team earned three 6 on 5 advantages in their first four offensive possessions, but were tormented by the shot blocking of the Camels. After earning a power play chance of their own, Conn College's Paul MacMullin drilled one home and extended the lead to 3. Blackwood would respond, however, on Caltech's next possession on an unassisted strike. Junior captain, Patric Eck, would also ring the bell to bring the Beavers within one. The Camels then went on a 5-2 streak to put them up 9-4 heading into the break.
After intermission, the Beavers came alive. The defensive backcourt generated numerous steals and ill-advised shots from the Camels that led to a Caltech scoring spree. Blackwood and Eck scored their third and second goals respectively. After a quiet first half, sophomore attacker Chris Bradley rattled off a hat trick on two dirty lob attempts and a converted penalty. Despite the offensive surge, the team couldn't keep their visitors of the board in the period. At the end of the penultimate quarter, the home team's rally got them to a 12-9 deficit.
"We gotta take it play by play. 100%. Execute," Eck explained summarily.
The upset minded Beavers were thwarted early in the fourth quarter. Conn's Heros netted his game high sixth on a Camel power play which started a 3-goal run for the visitors. The Beavers did muster three more goals. Blackwood, Bradley and sophomore center, Tomas Tussie, were responsible. The final score was 19-12.
Despite the loss, Caltech came away with a season high 18 exclusions drawn, indicative of a more aggressive offense. Additionally, the defense generated a season high 13 steals.
"I like what we were able to accomplish in our frontcourt game situations," head coach Pat Beemer said, "and though our transition game and ball protection have improved, we got exploited a few times in the middle."
Caltech hosts Washington & Jefferson this Thursday for a 5:30pm tilt before traveling to the Gary Troyer Tournament Friday and Saturday.