Photo by Bob Palermini
PASADENA, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2015) – Freshman Charles Ross (Wexford, Pa. / North Allegheny) made an instant name for himself in his home debut, stopping 19 shots for the Caltech men's water polo team against Washington & Jefferson University on Thursday evening.
Despite Ross's heroics, the Beavers fell, 11-7, to dip below .500 at 4-5 while the Presidents improve to 7-3.
Ross was called upon to make three saves in the opening two minutes, but the Presidents broke through on their fourth attempt and again two minutes later on a man-up chance to take the 2-0 lead. Senior Patric Eck (Fullerton, Calif. / Serra) pulled one back at the 2:50 mark but the visitors stretched back out with a strike at 1:52. Senior James Blackwood (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) came up with a big goal on the very next possession, though, and assisted junior Chris Bradley (Half Moon Bay, Calif. / Serra) with four seconds left in the quarter to level the score.
W&J had a big chance on the first possession of the second quarter as Bradley was tagged with an exclusion, but Ross picked up right where he left off with another athletic stop. The Presidents notched on a counter attack off a turnover one minute later, but both teams locked down at that point with neither netting for the remainder of the half. The Presidents defense appeared suffocating at times as it forced six turnovers during that span, but Ross more than made up for the offensive shortcomings in recording 12 blocks over the first half alone.
Caltech looked destined to equalize as the third quarter began and did exactly that at the 5:48 mark. After a pair of steals on the Presidents' possessions, Bradley connected with Eck, whose shot just snuck over the line to tie the game at 4-4. W&J countered immediately to regain the lead, but the Beavers matched that on a man-up opportunity at the 2:20 mark as Bradley completed his ninth straight brace to open the season.
W&J took the lead once more in the final seconds of the quarter and made it a two-goal game just a minute into the fourth. Blackwood hit freshman Eshan Govil (Redwood City, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) for a big strike on the Beavers' next possession after Eck drew an exclusion to pull back within one, but W&J took control from there, scoring four unanswered goals, again despite Ross's best efforts between the posts. Blackwood netted a late consolation on an impressive long-range effort with two seconds remaining.
Head Coach Jon Bonafede and the Beavers will take part in the Gary Troyer Tournament, co-hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2-3. The Beavers have been matched up against CWPA DIII No. 9 MIT (4-5) at 11:15 a.m. and RV Occidental College (1-8) at 4:15 p.m.