CLAREMONT, Calif. — The Division III No. 4-ranked Johns Hopkins University water polo team dropped both games on the opening day of the Gary Troyer Tournament. Hopkins lost to Division III No. 6 Whittier College, 11-8, and then fell to Division III No. 7 the University of La Verne, 15-12.
At Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College’s Axelrood Pool in the morning game, Whittier jumped out to a four-goal lead after one quarter. Sophomore Ian Raley got the Blue Jays on the board just 66 seconds into the second quarter, but the Poets answered with three straight to push their lead 7-1 at the half. Raley again opened the scoring, with a strike just 21 seconds into the third quarter to make it a 7-2 game. Again, Whittier answered, this time with back-to-back goals to extend the lead to seven at 9-2.
Senior Kami Eslami scored with 5:16 to go and graduate student Emerson Sullivan followed with a six-and-five goal and it was a 9-4 game heading into the fourth quarter. Patrick Seelhorst scored for the Poets to open the fourth, but junior Liam Housenbold and freshman Daniel Palfi responded with a pair to cut the score to 10-6 with 1:56 on the clock. Kaan Hamurculu answered 31 seconds later to push the lead back to five. Palfi and Jason Mihalopoulos each put away shots in the final minute, but Hopkins could get no closer than three in falling 11-8.
During the afternoon contest at La Verne’s La Verne Aquatics Center, Raley put Hopkins on top early against the home team, but the Leopards responded with a 4-1 spurt to take 4-2 lead into the second quarter. Sullivan and Eslami sandwiched a pair around a strike from Peter Trinh to pull within one at 5-4. La Verne pushed its lead back to three with back-to-back goals just 42 seconds apart. Sullivan and Eslami again bookended a Leopards’ goal and it was 9-6 with 3:18 to play in the quarter. Jaden Javier and Cody Lehotsky scored back-to-back goals and just like that, the lead was five at the 1:41-mark. Sullivan and Raley scored in the final 78 seconds to make it a 10-8 game at the half.
Housenbold and Sullivan scored in the opening four minutes of the third quarter to tie the game at 10-all. The tie was short-lived, however, as the Leopards scored four unanswered to push out to a 14-10 lead with 5:13 to go. Palfi put away a shot with 58 ticks on the clock to pull the Jays back within three, but Brandon Pham delivered a counter point 16 seconds later. Sullivan came right back for Hopkins, scoring his sixth of the night with 31 seconds to go, but that would do it for the scoring.
Sophomore Kyle Pearson took the loss in both games with six saves versus Whittier and seven stops against La Verne.
Historically, Sullivan – who notched his 250th career point in the La Verne contest – needs one goal to become only the 11th player in program history to score 200 career goals. Further, he moved into fourth place in program history in career blocks (39). Further, Eslami moved into 13th place in the Blue Jays’ record books with 22 blocks, while Chris Freese claimed 10th place in career assists (61).
Information courtesy Johns Hopkins University Athletics Communications