Men’s water polo upsets No. 19 LMU

Hannah Brozowski
Staff Writer

The Whittier College Men’s Water Polo team annihilated Occidental and upset No. 19 Loyola Marymount in a dominating fashion.

Within the first quarter the Poets showed that they were there to win.  Senior lefty Julian Droetti set the tone of the game with a powerful shot to the right corner. Soon after, senior center Wedge Molthen, senior attacker Hunter Pelletier, and first-year utility Nick Hyden all contributed a goal to secure a 4-0 lead in the first quarter.

A minute into the second quarter, Molthen wowed the crowd with an incredible backhand goal.  Junior attacker Massi Mirarchi then added another point, making the score 6-0.  A few minutes later, Pelletier made an amazing play.  He stole the ball from Oxy and powered to the goal, yet within a few meters from the goal he was fouled. However, Oxy was unable to stop Pelletier from regaining possession of the ball, and with the final pass from Hyden, he scored. With 19 seconds left, senior attacker Tucker Vejsicky scored as well and in the quarter with Oxy only amassing one point. 

In the beginning of the third quarter, the Tigers scored once, with Whittier adding four sequential goals; two by Mirarchi, and one each from junior attacker Marko Miocic and Hyden. With one more goal from each team respectively, one by Vejsicky, the third ended with a score of 13-3.

In the fourth quarter Oxy was able to score three additional goals while senior attacker Carlos Campos-Moya and Vejsicky each scored one, resulting in a final score of 15-6. At the end of the game Pelletier said, “Overall we did pretty well. [We are] a lot quicker than the last year and the chemistry this year is the best we’ve had.”  And with a dominating score of 15-6, it’s evident that their speed and efficiency were unbeatable. 

After the game against Occidental, Mirarchi, one of the game’s top scorers, insisted: “We need to win that game,” in reference to the later game against No.19 Loyola Marymount (LMU); and that they did. 

From the moment the whistle blew it was evident that this was going to be a close match. The first quarter proved just that with both teams scoring 3 goals a piece.  In the second quarter, Whittier came on top and ended before the half with a score of 6-4. However, during the third quarter LMU managed to get two goals, tying the score at 6-6.  

In the final and most suspenseful quarter of the game, Whittier came on top with two goals while LMU only managed to secure one goal.  In total, Mirarchi finished the game with four goals, and Miocic, senior driver Mihailo Vuja, Droetti, and Molthen attributed one goal each respectively. 

Whittier’s defense in this game was amazing, especially the goalkeeping skills of first-year goalie Murat Ersoz, who had an amazing save against a penalty shot, among other crucial saves throughout the game.  Whittier’s win against LMU was the biggest win of the season so far. It was additionally satisfying to win against Whittier’s previous coach and LMU’s new assistant coach Shaun Flood.  But more than anything this win solidified their perfect record of 5-0, overall proving that determination and team chemistry can attribute to success. 

On Sunday, Whittier unfortunately lost to Division I powerhouse USC as well as UC Irvine.

As of now, Whittier is currently undefeated at home with a record of 5-2 overall.

In additional news, Mirarchi was named the SCIAC Athlete of the Week for Water Polo due to his outstanding performance and being the top leader of goals scored in the conference thus far. The Poets take on Citrus College next Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.