Author: Donovan Dennis
The men’s water polo team (3-18 overall, 1-7 SCIAC) rang in Senior Day Saturday with a hard-fought game against Redlands, falling to the Bulldogs 17-8.
“They are a good team with a lot of shooters,” Hank Franscioni (senior) said. “They just outnumbered us.”
Occidental started off with a strong first quarter, holding Redlands to four points. Paul Bergevin (junior) found the cage twice in the first six minutes, rounding out the quarter with a two-point Tiger deficit.
Matt Weiser (sophomore) and Nicholas Lakon (first year) added another pair of points to the board in the second, though a Redlands scoring-spree in the middle of the quarter left the Tigers behind by five following the Bulldog offensive.
Coming in for the second half, Redlands rallied another seven points in the third, plaguing goalie Josh Needleman (senior) with a volley of shots. William Kim (first-year) added one for the Tigers.
Though the Tigers rallied for three points in the fourth and held the Bulldogs to only one point, the Bulldogs took home the win.
It was definitely a frustrating game, especially with it being Senior Day,” Bergevin said. “We were missing two starts, which hurt us, so we had a short bench. As a team, we kind of wore down and got tired in the game. Redlands is a good team.”
By the fourth quarter, Redlands had substituted in a fresh goalie and six new attackers, as opposed to the Tigers who relied on many of their core players throughout the game.
The match marks the final game in Taylor Pool for seniors Franscioni, Patrick Maloney and Needleman who were honored before the game began. Maloney suffered an injury early in the season, which has prevented him from playing in most of the games.
“They are great leaders, especially in leading by example,” Bergevin said. “They are two of the hardest working players I have ever played with. Hank is barely able to play because of his injuries but he is still giving it everything he has. That was what I told everyone before the game, ‘let’s play this game as hard as they work.’”
With their SCIAC games behind them, the Tigers next head into the SCIAC tournament, facing Caltech Friday. The winner of that matchup will play CMS in the evening.
“My goal is to allow us to play our best games of the season so our guys can go into the next year strong,” Franscioni said. “We want to show recruits what’s up with our team compared to the other teams that we beat.”
Bergevin echoed Franscioni’s sentiments, noting that they have the capability to force some upsets, so long as they happen earlier in the tournament.
Head Coach Chris Lee emphasized the importance of preparation for the final games of the season.
“We have to find a way to keep us in the games,” Lee said. “And that will put us in a position to win. I don’t want to steal wins, I want to earn wins.”
The Tigers take on the Caltech Beavers Friday in the first game of the SCIAC tournament hosted by La Verne.
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