POMONA, Calif. – In what has become a fall classic, Pomona College hosted the annual Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament this past weekend. The Caltech men's water polo team capped off a jammed packed 5-game slate with a convincing win over Penn State-Behrend.
On the eve of the Troyer, Caltech played host to visiting Washington & Jefferson. The Presidents showed no signs of jet lag as they raced out to a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Junior attacker Jim Blackwood sparked a rally early on in the second when he netted his first of the game-high four goals. The rally fell short and the Presidents hung in for a 14-8 road win.
The opening game Friday morning for Caltech at the Troyer was a "Tech vs. Tech" battle against that other school in Cambridge, Mass. A seasoned MIT team demonstrated its experience and locked down defensively. The Engineers held the Beavers scoreless in the first half. Sophomore attacker Chris Bradley completed his 15th hat trick of the season in the contest. The final scoreboard read 16-4.
Later on that same day, Caltech squared off against an increasingly familiar opponent in Penn State – Behrend. The Lions and the Beavers met earlier in the season at the Navy Open. Like a carbon copy of the initial encounter, Caltech led throughout the majority of the contest, but couldn't fend off a surging opponent late. Junior captain Patric Eck found Bradley for two scores early and the Beavers held the lead until the 6:12 mark in the fourth quarter. The end result was an exasperating 12-11 loss.
In the first game of day two of the Troyer, Caltech squared off against DI foe George Washington. Despite earning 12 exclusions throughout the match, the Beavers could only muster converting three of the chances. The Colonials took advantage of these offensive miscues are were able to tally several goals in transition. The game ended with Caltech on the wrong side of a 17-4 score.
The marquis game of the weekend was yet another installment of Caltech vs. Penn State-Behrend. As it turned out, the third time was the charm for the Beavers. In its previous two encounters, Caltech notched double digits on the scoreboard, led through three quarters and failed to leave victorious. This set the stage for a thrilling effort Saturday afternoon.
The Beavers were not tentative in the first quarter. Bradley opened up the scoring at the 5:30 mark and racked up two more in the quarter. Blackwood and Eck each found the back of the net and sophomore center, Jordan Bonilla, added one of his own. After the first eight minutes, Caltech led by a 6-0 margin.
"We have been struggling to consolidate our defense after scoring," said head coach Pat Beemer. "Today we were able to lock down defensively throughout. This was our best team win of the season."
The Beavers continued their stingy defense into the second quarter. Bradley, Eck and Blackwood each scored again in the frame. Senior goalkeeper Ben Grabowski and senior defender CJ Culpepper saw to it that the Lions were kept off the board. Grabowski, who finished the game with 16 saves, had eight in the second quarter alone and Culpepper played stalwart defense in the middle. At halftime, Caltech was cruising with a 9-0 lead.
Behrend finally got on the board at the 5:12 mark in the third quarter, but the damage had already been done. Eck and Bradley each scored again bringing their respective tallies to four each and the Beavers didn't look back. The final score was 11-4 and Caltech secured its sixth win of the season, officially doubling its wins from the 2013 season.
On tap for the team this weekend is the annual alumni game. The Saturday contest begins at noon and all alumni are encouraged to attend.