The men’s water polo team’s six-game winning streak came to an end Nov. 4, as Chapman fell to second-place Whittier College 12-9.
Chapman’s 8-7 win over California Lutheran University Nov. 1. means that the team has clinched at least the third spot in the conference, despite its loss to second-place Whittier.
“If anything, it made us want to go after (Whittier) even more because they were one spot ahead of us,” said senior center Jeff O’Brien. “(This loss) in my opinion, is better for us, because they beat us twice and it’s hard to beat a team three times (in a row),”
O’Brien said the game became physical, but he used Whittier’s physicality as motivation.
“If a team is playing dirty, they spend their time focusing on hitting you rather than playing the game, so I used that to my advantage,” O’Brien said.
Junior goalkeeper Wesley Hertel saved 11 shots, two of which were five-meter penalty shots. He said both teams were on a similar level.
“We had the same win-loss record, we knew we were right there with them and that they are very beatable,” Hertel said. “There’s no doubt that we have a lot of talent. If that’s clicking together, then there is no one in our conference that could stop us.”
Chapman had a slow first half, as it has multiple times this season, trailing 7-3. During the third quarter, however, Chapman scored four goals, three of which were scored within less than a minute, catching them up 7-8.
“The energy hit during third quarter, because we knew that if we had a chance of winning, we needed to step up our game,” O’Brien said.” We increased the energy and we started scoring.”
Although Chapman came within a point of Whittier, the team was unable to take the lead from its opponents.
“We played pretty well for (the) fourth quarter, but we did miss a lot of opportunities and that was the huge difference between the third and fourth quarter,” said head coach Eric Ploessel.
Chapman’s standout player was junior two-meter defender Brady Hoskins, who scored three of the team’s goals and was able to block some of the opponent’s shots while having a torn meniscus all season. Hoskins said he remains optimistic for the playoffs.
“If we stayed together as a team, we would (have) come out on top,” Hoskins said. “Unfortunately, it did not go that way, but we will get them next time we play them.”
Chapman’s next home game will be against the California Institute of Technology at 7 p.m. Nov. 8.