Fifth straight win maintains third-place spot for men’s water polo

A Redlands goalkeeper holds the ball from freshman defense right Hayden Reider in Chapman’s 11-10 victory over the University of Redlands Oct. 25. Photo by Maximilian Hohnle

The cheers of the rowdy crowd at the Zee Allred Aquatics Center and the intensity of the men’s water polo players continued to grow as the game between the third and fourth placed teams in the conference went into overtime Oct. 25.

After six periods of play, the only goal that set Chapman and the University of Redlands apart came from Chapman senior utility Bennett Royce. With less than a minute to go in a game that saw four lead changes, junior utility Kevin Dayan found Royce open in the pool. Royce cocked back his arm and sent the Allred crowd into a frenzy, giving Chapman the last goal in its 11-10 win.

Chapman beat Redlands Sept. 23 12-7. In both games, Chapman trailed Redlands after the first quarter. Chapman was scored on three straight times by Redlands to open the game Oct. 25.

“The slow start has been consistent throughout all the games so far this season,” Dayan said. “We always start behind and then catch up at the end.”

In the second quarter, Chapman picked up the intensity, rattling off five straight points and taking a two-point lead. Chapman didn’t lead by more than two points the entire game.

As the game continued, so did the exchange of goals. From the third quarter on, neither team scored more than two goals in a row.

In the fourth quarter, Chapman scored with less than a minute and a half to go. The clock ticked down to 25 seconds remaining, when Redlands scored, sending the game into overtime. The periods are shortened from 10 minutes to three in overtime, with two periods to play.

“The outcome was unexpected,” said head coach Eric Ploessel. “(Redlands) had a different gameplay, and they are missing a couple guys. However, they played really well. They adjusted very well under the circumstance of missing their two top players.”

Redlands opened overtime with the first score, but sophomore goalkeeper Wesley Hertel found an open Royce, who tied the game.

With the game tied in the second overtime period, Dayan saw his opportunity and passed to Royce across the cage, who brought home the final goal of the game.

“It felt good,” Royce said. “I believed we played extremely well, especially since it’s stressful going (to) overtime, but defensively, we came together towards the end and we saw a couple of lucky opportunities.”

Dayan said he expects Chapman to continue its five-game winning streak.

“We want to keep our winning streak (going) and we don’t want to lose anymore games for the rest of the season,” Dayan said. “I believe that we can.”

Chapman’s next game will be at California Lutheran University at 4 p.m. Nov. 1.

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