ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University men's water polo team got back to its winning ways on Wednesday, defeating the Occidental Tigers, 17-10 at Allred Olympic Pool. The Panthers, who dropped a tough 15-13 contest against Redlands on Saturday, have won five of their last six matches, improving to 4-1 in SCIAC play.
An aggressive opening quarter made the difference for the Panthers, who outscored the Tigers 5-1 in the first eight minutes. Despite several attempts by Oxy to get back into the match, including a game-high five goals from Jack Stabenfeldt over the final three quarters, the Panthers defense held to preserve their winning streak over Oxy that is over a decade old.
The Panthers wasted little time putting pressure on the last-place Tigers, scoring twice in the opening minute on goals from sophomore utility Willis Allen and senior utility Brett Carter, who leads the team with 25 goals. Junior driver Mark Alvarado would tack on another goal at the 3:41 mark, just seconds before Carter capped off the 4-0 run with his second goal.
Freshman attacker Paul Bergeven halted the Panther run with Oxy's first goal, but the Tigers failed to take the momentum into the break as senior driver James Vigeant netted his first goal of the match in the final seconds of the quarter.
The early lead proved useful to Chapman as Oxy came roaring back in the second quarter. Trailing 6-1, the Tigers put up three straight goals, including two by Stabenfeldt, narrowing the Panthers' lead to 6-4. Oxy kept the pressure on Chapman, scoring the final goal of the half and stealing some momentum from the Panthers, who they outscored 4-3 in the second quarter.
Eager to defend their three-game home winning streak, the Panthers came out firing in the third quarter as they outscored the Tigers 5-2 thanks to three goals by Vigeant over a span of three minutes. The two teams traded goals over the final quarter as the Chapman defense led the way until the clock hit zero.
The Panthers defense was in fine form on Wednesday as Alvarado, the team leader in steals and assists, lived up to his reputation by collecting a game-high six assists and seven steals. Sophomore GK Stephen Neil had another impressive day with four blocks and two steals over the first three quarters.
Six regular season matches remain before Chapman hosts the SCIAC Championships, Nov. 22-24. The Panthers will have ample time to prepare as four of their final six matchups will come in their home tank. Chapman will be back in the pool on Saturday as they host Golden West College at 9 a.m. followed by Concordia University at 4 p.m.
by Ryan Cavinder
Sports Information Assistant