THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Division III No. 2-ranked/Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) runner-up the University of Redlands jumped out to a 7-1 lead and never looked back as the Bulldogs beat Division III No. 5/Division III Eastern Champion Johns Hopkins University, 18-6, in the semifinals of the 2022 USA Water Polo Division III Collegiate Water Polo National Championship at California Lutheran University’s Samuelson Aquatics Center.
Redlands advances to face Division III No. 1/SCIAC Champion/host Cal Lutheran at 12:30 p.m. Pacific/3:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, December 4, for the Division III National Championship, while JHU squares off with Division III No. 8/Division III Eastern Championship runner-up the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 10:30 a.m. Pacific/1:30 p.m. Eastern for Third Place. Cal Lutheran claimed the earlier semifinal with a 17-7 defeat of MIT.
The Blue Jays jumped on the scoreboard first as Cameron Burns (Jr., Irvine, Calif./Orange Lutheran) deposited a strike with 5:54 left in the first quarter. It marked the only time Johns Hopkins led in the contest as Alec Abrahamian equalized the score at 4:36 prior to Andrew Higginson putting the Bulldogs in front at 3:19 via a five-meter penalty shot. Spencer Clinton padded the lead to 3-1 at 1:28 with a man-up strike prior to the close of the opening frame.
Drake Moody made it 4-1 42 seconds into the second quarter by converting a six-on-five opportunity before cashing in with the teams at even strength and off an assist from Higginson at 6:08 to make it 5-1.
Moody put away his third consecutive strike at 5:16 as Abrahamian earned an assist in helping the Bulldogs move ahead 6-1.
The scoring kept coming for Redlands as Ethan Beaty found Ron Gvishi for a tally at 4:52 to widen the gap to 7-1. Emerson Sullivan (Gr., San Anselmo, Calif./Sir Francis Drake) snapped Redlands’ scoring rampage at 3:38 to close within 7-2, but Moody made the Jays blue by cashing in on an assist from Gvishi with 2;52 until halftime to provide Redlands an 8-2 lead.
Redlands continued an offensive onslaught as Spencer Clinton finished another feed from Gvishi at 2:04 to allow the Bulldogs to enter halftime with a commanding 9-2 lead.
Following intermission, the Bulldogs returned to scoring as Eamon Greathouse dented the twine off a feed from Spencer Sellwood with 5:26 left in the third quarter to make it 10-2.
Greathouse then set up Moody at 4:51 before Moody laced in a five-meter penalty shot at 4:10 to give Redlands a 10-goal lead at 12-2.
Johns Hopkins delivered a response at 3:17 when Liam Housenbold (Jr., Atherton, Calif./Menlo School) cashed in off a feed from Paul Gensbigler (Jr., Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) to close the gap to nine at 12-3.
Gvishi found Owen Nishimura for a tally at 1:32 to return the Bulldogs’ lead to 10 at 13-3, but Burns slipped a pass to Gavin Brooke (Fr., Fort Washington, Pa./La Salle College) who converted the opportunity with 29 seconds left in the third quarter to again move JHU within nine at 13-4. However, the SCIAC runner-up managed to put one final strike on the scoreboard prior to the close of the frame as Beaty finished a feed from Andrew Sorensen with seven ticks on the clock to stake Redlands to a 14-4 lead heading into the final eight minutes of regulation.
Following Brandon Khalil taking over in Redlands’ net for Liam Murphy to start the frame, the Blue Jays attempted to rally back in the opening moments of the fourth quarter as Chris Lo (So., Newtown Square, Pa./Episcopal Academy) dished a helper to Ian Raley (So., Baltimore, Md./Gilman) for a man-up strike at 6:17 to again move JHU to within nine at 14-5.
Redlands responded at 5:27 as Sorensen found Jake Rose for a natural goal to return the spread to 10 at 15-5.
The teams went back-and-forth, up-and-down the pool until Greathouse flushed a feed from Sellwood at 2:57 to expand Redlands’ lead to 11 at 16-5.
The margin grew to 17-5 at 2:17 as Beaty cashed in courtesy a feed from Nishimura as the Bulldogs continued to pad their scoreboard advantage.
Shayan Sadiq (Jr., Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) delivered for JHU at 1:54, but Greathouse found Michael Maher at 1:37 to establish the 18-6 final score.
For Redlands, Abrahamian (one goal, one assist, one drawn exclusion), Higginson (one goal, one assist, two steals), Gvishi (one goal, three assists, one drawn exclusion, one steal), Beaty (two goals, one assist, one steal), Greathouse (two goals, two assists), Moody (six goals, three drawn exclusions), Maher (one goal, one steal), Sellwood (two assists, two drawn exclusions), Rose (one goal), Nishimura (one goal, one assist, one drawn exclusion, one steal), Sorensen (two assists) and Clinton (two goals, one drawn exclusion) all factored on offense in Blue Jays’ water. Murphy made 12 saves with five goals allowed, while Khalil stopped one shot, collected a steal and permitted one tally.
Sullivan (one goal, one drawn exclusion), Sadiq (one goal), Burns (one goal, one assist, one drawn exclusion, three steals), Eslami (one assist), Raley (one goal, one drawn exclusion, one steal), Gensbigler (one assist, two steals), Chris Freese (Sr., Bellevue, Wash./Interlake) (two drawn exclusions), Brooke (one goal), Dado Soares (Fr., Riverside, Conn./Greenwich) (one drawn exclusion), Housenbold (one goal, one drawn exclusion) and Los (one assist, one drawn exclusion, one steal) all factored for Hopkins.
Kyle Pearson (So., Key Biscayne, Fla./Laurel Springs School (Calif.)) made 10 saves, grabbed a steal and allowed 18 goals in taking the loss in cage for the Blue Jays.