Tight battle, but Tigers fall to Division II Mercyhurst

Tight battle, but Tigers fall to Division II Mercyhurst

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Oct. 15, 2010) – Coming off an exciting home opening victory, the Tigers jumped back into Taylor Pool tonight where the outcome, unfortunately, was not in favor of Occidental College as Division II Mercyhurst College defeated the Black and Orange 13-11 in non-conference action.

In what turned into a defensive battle in the water during the second half, the teams combined for 16 first half goals.

Tai McDermott got the scoring started, but that 1-0 lead was the only lead the Tigers would enjoy during the course of the first half as Oxy pulled even seven times. Sophomore Brendan Whitmore put the home team up 10-9 mid-way through the fourth quarter, but a 4-1 run down the stretch for the Lakers was too much for the Tigers to handle.

After trailing 3-2 after the opening period of play, the Tigers outscored the Lakers 6-5 in the second. After Joe Reynolds tied things up twice late in the second stanza, Scott Churchman came up with a big block to preserve tie just under a minute to play.

Trailing by one with seconds to play in the half, Oxy took advantage of a man-up situation. Richard Dybas was fouled and passed the ball back to Josh Kantor who quickly pushed the ball back in the direction of Dybas who scored (watch here) to tie things at 8-8 as time ticked away in the second quarter leaving the teams tied at the mid-way point of the match.

Out of the gate in the second half Oxy won the sprint behind Kantor and capitalized on that opportunity when McDermott locked up a hat-trick early in the third quarter.

Down by a pair with seconds to play in the third, Kyle Reuther came up with a big block, keeping the Tigers in the game as time expired quarter.

The defense of both teams escalated in the final period of play.

Oxy had a number of opportunities, but were unable to find the back of the net. With 4:27 to play, Greg Benz came up with a steal, feeding it to McDermott who broke away from everyone, which looked promising, but the ball barely hit the cross bar and bounced back into the water inches from crossing the plane for a goal.

Oxy quickly used a time out, but it was Mercyhurst who used that to their advantage, scoring to separate themselves from the Tigers by three goals, the largest gap of the night.

The Tigers cut that lead back to two when Kevin Coleman handed the ball off to Benz, who found the back of the net to pull the score to13-11, waking up the Oxy fans, who began to chant.

Down the stretch the Lakers were able to use the shot clock in their favor.

McDermott led the pack with three goals while Reynolds and Benz scored twice in the game, with one of Benz's coming on a penalty shot with 5:51 to play in the second.

Occidental (3-13) will be back on the deck at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning when they open Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play against the No. 4 ranked Whittier College Poets.

Article by Tracy Maple, Sports Information Director