ORANGE, Calif. - The Chapman University men's water polo team let an early lead slip as the Panthers fell 10-9 to University of La Verne on Saturday at Allred Pool.
Tied 9-9 with one minute left in the final quarter, the Leopards Rey Julian Castillo squared up to the net and lifted La Verne to a 10-9 victory with a goal five meters out.
The Panthers held an early lead against the Leopards through the first quarter. Junior Christopher Garau put the Panthers on the board first at the 6:45 minute mark to give Chapman a 1-0 lead. Panther junior Jeff O'Brien followed up with a pair of goals from two meters out to lift Chapman to a 3-1 lead. Freshman Cameron Genetti tacked on a fourth goal for Chapman with one minute left in the quarter to edge La Verne 4-1.
The Leopards fired back with six unanswered goals over a six-minute span to start the second quarter and take the lead for the first time in the match 7-4. Freshman Guillermo Ocasio and Castillo led the Leopards offensive charge with a pair of goals each. O'Brien scored with 10 seconds left in the first half to tighten the score 7-5 and end La Verne's 6-0 run.
Trailing 7-5 in the third quarter, the Panthers answered with a 3-0 run of their own to take back the lead 8-7 with three minutes left in the quarter. Genetti scored the Panthers go-ahead goal on a man-up advantage. With just a minute left in the quarter, La Verne's Joshua Vega tied the match 8-8 with a line drive into the left corner of the net.
The Panthers and Leopards traded a goal each in the fourth quarter before the Leopards ran away with the victory. Freshman Ivan Shikhelman led the Chapman defense with 13 blocks in goal, while O'Brien led the offense with 4 goals.
The Panthers will play their next six matches on the road beginning with a SCIAC match against Occidental at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Chapman will return home for senior day on Saturday, Nov. 12 for an 11 a.m. match against Pomona-Pitzer.
By Raquel Rinauro
Sports Information Assistant