Men's Water Polo Defeats Citrus College in Home Opener
PASADENA, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2022) – The Caltech men's water polo team defeated Citrus College in the Beavers home opener on Thursday afternoon in the Braun Pool, besting the Owls 13-9.
Shortly after winning the first-quarter sprint, sophomore Sean Zheng (San Marino, Calif. / Polytechnic School) was whistled for an exclusion foul, giving Citrus a 20-second man advantage, in which the Owls scored first on a powerplay. Zheng, nevertheless, re-entered and netted a goal less than a minute later, putting the Beavers on the board and creating momentum that contributed to Caltech's solid effort. The remainder of the quarter saw the two teams tied, as they headed into the second quarter knotted at 3-3.
The second frame saw back-and-forth scoring from both teams, until senior Max Bricken (Portland, Ore. / Westview) notched three consecutive goals in under two minutes. The attacker was a standout in the pool today, scoring 10 of the Beavers' 13 goals. Bricken is now the 4th highest all-time single-game scorer in Caltech history, and two goals short of the record set by David Bruning in 1987. In addition to his impressive scoring effort, the senior made 4 steals, an assist and drew one exclusion. As the teams went to the half, the Beavers had gained a 9-6 advantage, outscoring Citrus 6-3 in the second frame.
Heading into the second half, the Beavers were determined to build on their lead. In addition to Bricken's 5 goals, senior Matthew Hajjar (San Jose, Calif. / The Harker School) made one steal and netted two goals during the first half. Freshman Sujit Iyer (Marietta, Ga. / Wheeler) made his home debut, goalkeeping for the Beavers in the second half. He made three saves and had only three goals against in the final two periods. Fellow freshman, Bram Schork (Villanova, Pa. / The Haverford School) also played well on the day, contributing 2 assists, and winning the ball back for Caltech with several solid defensive efforts.
Speaking on his team's performance, Head Coach Jon Bonafede noted, "It was really good to get Bram and Sujit, our first years, their first collegiate assists and saves, respectively, in the nonconference season. I thought it was a great effort by everyone and we executed our game plan well. With this heat and now that we're starting to play games, it's great to see the positivity. A lot of good things to look forward to for the rest of the season."
Bonafede and the men's water polo team will next play as part of the Inland Empire Tournament at the University of La Verne. The first game will be against Westcliff University on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. To follow the men's water polo program all season long, as well as all Caltech Athletics' events, please visit www.gocaltech.com.