LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Oct. 13, 2010) – For the first time in 2010 the Occidental College men's water polo team played at home. In the friendly confines of Taylor Pool, with the bleachers packed and the crowd thoroughly involved, the Tigers left the deck with a 18-17 victory over the visiting Vanguard University Lions in non-conference play.
A close battle, in which the teams were never separated by more than three goals, came down to the final possessions of the game.
When Richard Dybas scored a behind-the-back no-look goal, followed by a fist pump and a roar from the crowd, Oxy tied the game up 16-16 with 1:50 left on the clock. Freshman Kevin Coleman then had a fist pumping moment of his own when he put the Tigers up 17-16, sparking the crowd to stand and begin chanting de-fence with just one minute left to play in regulation.
Seventeen seconds later the Lions knotted things up at 17-17 forcing Oxy to use a timeout.
Dybas sent the crowd into another eruption when he scored his third goal of the game, which was also the game winner.
With 14 seconds to play things were not over yet as Kyle Reuther capped off a fantastic game in front of the cage with his 13th block to solidify the win for the Black and Orange.
In the early goings, Oxy trailed 5-3 but a late first quarter score from Dybas about six meters out, got the crowd noise to escalate as the Tigers were behind by just a goal at the first intermission.
With 5:11 to play in the second period, in a man-up situation, Oxy kept Vanguard on its toes, moving the ball well before Joe Reynolds found Tai McDermott who knotted the game at 5-5. Oxy then quickly went ahead on back-to-back goals by Coleman and sophomore Brendan Whitmore forcing the Lions to take a time out.
Although Reuther came up with a big block, but the deflection ricocheted into the hands of Vanguard's Samuel Gonzalez who closed the gap to one. With a pair of Oxy turnovers down the stretch, the Lions used the clock and as time expired in the first half David Buckalew tied the game at 7-7 going into the break.
Fresh out of the huddle, Vanguard scored, but Whitmore reciprocated on a pass from Greg Benz to again tie the game before Benz got in on the scoring, putting Oxy up 9-8. Benz then broke the tie, putting Oxy up 10-9 after he faked out the Lions and found the back of the cage.
Reuther came up with another block before McDermott scored a behind-the-back goal from center on an assist from Reynolds. Whitmore quickly skipped the ball into the right corner of the Lions' goal to go up 12-9.
Whitmore again pushed the lead to three when a behind-the-back shot of his own from the middle trickled into the net, giving Oxy a 13-10 advantage with just 1:50 to play in the third quarter.
Vanguard would score once more in the frame to leave the score at 13-11 entering the final period of action.
A raucous crowd got the Tigers pumped up early and they responded often. Whitmore finished with six goals and three drawn ejections while Coleman and McDermott each finished with three goals apiece. Reynolds had six assists and Benz finished with three.
Occidental (3-12) jumps back in Taylor Pool on Friday evening when they host Mercyhurst College at 7:00 p.m. before diving into league play on Saturday morning.
Article by Tracy Maple, Sports Information Director