ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University men's water polo team fell in a close 12-11 match to the visiting Whittier College Poets earlier this evening. The Panthers (7-15, 3-4 SCIAC) were led by junior Vasil Halchev and freshman Ethan Walter, who both contributed a hat trick in the effort.
Both Halchev and Walter each tallied an assist and an earned ejection to go along with their three goals. Junior Cameron Genetti was right behind them, scoring two goals while also tallying a steal. Freshman Graham Asalone, sophomore Hayden Reider and senior Brady Hoskins also found the back of the net once to keep the Panthers in the match.
Genetti was the first to strike, putting Chapman up 1-0 after less than a minute and a half of play. The Poets (9-11, 4-3 SCIAC) answered with two consecutive goals over the next six minutes of play. Halchev and Hoskins added two more in the final minute of the first quarter to give the Panthers a 3-2 advantage heading into the second.
Whittier came out strong in the second, taking a 4-3 lead with five minutes to play in the half. Halchev and Asalone fired back, giving Chapman the lead back with four minutes on the clock. The Poets and Panthers each added a pair of goals in the final four minutes of the half, giving Chapman a 7-6 advantage going into the third quarter.
The third quarter saw the same back-and-forth action, with Whittier coming out firing and going up 8-7 after two quick goals. Walter tied the match back up with just over five minutes left to play in the quarter, but the Poets scored two more to take a two-point lead. The two sides each scored one more in the quarter as Whittier took an 11-9 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
The fourth saw strong defense as only three goals were scored. The Poets struck first, extending theier lead to 12-9 with 4:18 on the clock. Walter responded with a nasty no-look goal to cut the deficit to just two points. Halchev found the back of the net next to cut the Poets' lead to one, but Asalone's shot with just a few seconds left went off the post to give Whittier the victory.
Junior goalkeeper Wesley Hertel tallied 14 saves and four steals on the night, helping keep the Panthers in the match. Asalone tallied two assists, a steal and three earned ejections on top of his goal. Hoskins was a force on defense, stealing the ball four times while also dishing out one assist.
Chapman heads to the University of La Verne later this week but returns home to Allred Olympic Pool on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 11am to host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant