RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (Sept. 11, 2019) – The Caltech men's water polo team sealed its best start to a season in more than a decade with Wednesday's 11-10 victory at Chaffey College.
The Beavers rallied from a 6-4 halftime deficit to outscore host Chaffey 7-4 over the remainder of the game. Seven different players scored for Caltech, though a breakout performance from freshman center Matthew Hajjar (San Jose, Calif. / The Harker School) ultimately keyed the victory for the visitors. Hajjar finished the game with a trio of goals spread between the game's final three quarters. Veterans Alex Janosi (Ann Arbor, Mich. / Dexter) and Steven Csaposs (Davis, Calif. / Davis) also added a pair of goals while Janosi helped his team by going a perfect 4-for-4 on sprints. Junior John Wang (Louisville, Ky. / Phillips Exeter Academy) led off the Beavers' dominant second half with a successful strike that cut the deficit to one. Junior Rahul Arun (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Adlai E Stevenson) and sophomore Austin Harvard (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) each added goals in a successful first period for the Beavers where they came out leading the home team, 3-1. The final tally of the game came courtesy of freshman Max Bricken (Portland, Ore. / Westview) who along with Janosi picked up two assists.
The Caltech defense tightened up once the second half hit. Harvard and Arun combined for three steals that ultimately afforded the Caltech offense some extra chances throughout the game. Freshman Wei Foo (Hacienda Heights, Calif. / Troy) featured in net for the Beavers for the fifth consecutive game and made five saves, while senior Bradley Justice (El Cajon, Calif. / Grossmont) made his season debut and saved six shots of his own. The game featured four lead changes in all, but the visiting Beavers managed to put a stranglehold on the game for good when Bricken potted the go-ahead goal with 10 seconds to go in the third period.
"Sometimes winning doesn't need to look pretty," Head Coach Jon Bonafede said. "This team found a way to win today, and we still manage to jell even when we're tired. There is something special about this year's group and I think we're already beginning to see our mix of youth and experience pay dividends. Last year's team may have fared differently than we did today."
Bonafede and the Beavers will have a few days before shifting their focus towards the Inland Empire Classic this weekend, hosted by the University of La Verne.