WHITTIER, Calif. — In the inaugural/2019 Division III Collegiate Water Polo National Championship sponsored by USA Water Polo semifinal match, the host/top-seeded/Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Champion and Division III No. 1-ranked Poets of Whittier College edged the fourth-seeded/Division III Eastern Championship runner-up/Division III No. 7 Engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a 12-8 final at the Lillian Slade Aquatic Center.
The loss for MIT puts the Engineers in the third-place game scheduled for Sunday, December 8, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific/1:30 p.m. Eastern against No. 2 seeded/Division III Eastern Champion/Division III No. 5 Johns Hopkins University which suffered a 14-11 setback against fourth-seeded/SCIAC runner-up/Division III No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in the second semifinal. Whittier will take on CMS at 12:30 p.m. Pacific/3:30 p.m. Eastern for the Division III Collegiate Water Polo National Championship.
Whittier scored the first goal of the game, but MIT answered and eventually knotted the game up at 2-2 after eight minutes of play. In that opening stanza, the Engineers received goals from Miller Geschke (Los Altos, Calif.) and Christian Schillinger (Orinda, Calif.).
The Poets were able to build their lead in the second quarter as the hosts outscored MIT by a 5-2 margin over the second eight minutes of the contest. The Engineers were able to score twice as Geschke and Clyde Huibregtse (New York, N.Y.) both found the back of the net prior to halftime.
As it was in the opening stanza, both squads posted two goals in the third quarter as the score stood at 9-6 through three quarters. Huibregtse notched his second of the game with 2:36 left on the clock and prior to the buzzer, Geschke scored on the man-advantage.
MIT did not give up in the final quarter as the Engineers were able to score twice, once on the man-advantage by Geschke and once in even strength play by Kevin Downey (Greenwich, Conn.). However, the lead that Whittier built in the second quarter stood as the difference as the hosts defeated the Engineers, 12-8.
Geschke paced the MIT offense with four goals and added one assists in the match, while Huibregtse tallied a pair of goals. On the defensive side of the ball, goalkeeper Hayden Niederreiter (Visalia, Calif.) led the Engineers with three steals.
MIT took advantage of its man-up opportunities as the Engineers went 3-for-6 on the powerplay, while over the course of the match Whittier outshot MIT by a slim 30-27 margin. The Poets also were able to win all four sprints.
The match was the first between MIT and Whittier since the 2017 season. The all-time series between the Poets and the Engineers dates back to 2000 and is now even at 4-4.
Release courtesy Massachusetts Institute of Technology Athletics Communications