Photo by Michael Wong
CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2016) – Caltech men's water polo recorded its first consecutive victories over NCAA opponents in 30 years with wins against Penn St.-Behrend and McKendree University at the Gary Troyer Tournament on Friday.
Caltech 15, PS-Behrend 7
The Beavers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the tournament opener and increased it to 7-1 by halftime as sophomore Shaurya Gilani (Chicago, Ill. / Adlai Stevenson) made 13 saves. The Lions staged a rally in the third quarter, edging the Beavers 5-4, but never challenged the lead as Caltech recovered to post a 4-1 advantage in the fourth for the decisive victory.
Gilani finished with a career-high 25 saves for a phenomenal .781 save percentage. Senior Chris Bradley (Half Moon Bay, Calif. / Junipero Serra) and sophomore Charles Ross (Wexford, Pa. / North Allegheny) each tallied five goals, while freshman Bradley Justice (El Cajon, Calif. / Grossmont) dished out three assists.
Caltech 13, McKendree 12
The Beavers' second game began entirely different, with McKendree surging ahead 4-1 after the first quarter and building up a seemingly insurmountable 11-5 lead late in the third quarter. With 1:39 left on the clock, Head Coach Jon Bonafede called his final timeout of the game and it proved a masterstroke. Ross netted on the Beavers' next two possessions and Bradley fired home a buzzer-beater to make it three straight, halving the deficit at the last break.
McKendree settled down to hold back the furious rally for the first couple minutes of the fourth quarter, but senior Connor Lee (Arcadia, Calif. / Arcadia) broke through again with 5:45 on the clock to pull Caltech within two. The Bearcats briefly extended the margin back to three, but the Caltech surge could not be stopped as the Beavers scored on their next four consecutive possessions, with Ross netting the eventual game-winner at the 2:29 mark. Gilani and the defense were impenetrable over the final minutes to seal the historic win.
Bradley finished with seven goals, two steals, two field blocks and one assist while Ross notched another hat trick and Lee netted twice. Justice, Lee, Ross and sophomore Eshan Govil (Redwood City, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) all assisted on a pair of goals apiece while Gilani totaled 14 saves.
Caltech 6, Conn. College 14
The Beavers did not fare as well on Day Two of the tournament, falling into a 5-1 hole in the first game and never quite recovering. Another Bradley hat trick was not enough to overcome a six-goal halftime deficit at 9-3, while Ross scored two more goals with an assist and three drawn exclusions and Gilani made another 14 saves.
Caltech 3, Pomona-Pitzer 13
The host Sagehens burst out to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter and extended the margin to seven by halftime. Justice took over in goal for the second half and made five saves while allowing just four goals after Gilani stopped 10 shots over the first half, but Pomona-Pitzer would hang on for the clear victory.
Head Coach Jon Bonafede and his squad host LA Trade Tech (8-15) in a battle of the Beavers for the next Orange Out on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.