NEW LONDON, Ct. – The Penn State Behrend men's water polo team split in two games in Connecticut on Saturday. They fell 8-7 to La Salle and defeated Washington & Jefferson 10-6.
Andre Sardaryzadeh (Murrieta, CA/Elsinore) led the way for the Lions (5-11) against Iona, tallying three goals and two drawn kickouts. Grant Garcia (Kingsburg, CA/Kingsburg) added two goals and three steals in the contest. Matt Olimski (San Diego, CA/Otay Ranch) recorded 17 saves in the tough loss.
Behrend started the game on a strong start after Isaak Hatopp (Saline, MI/Saline) and Troy Valkusky (Drifton, PA/Hazleton) notched a goal each to give the Lions a 2-0 in the first. The Explorers were able to cut the lead in half after scoring a goal with nine seconds remaining in the quarter.
Sardaryzadeh found his first goal of the game 26 seconds into the second quarter to push the lead back to two in favor of Behrend. La Salle was able to find the back of the net a couple times throughout the second though, evening the score at 3-all going into halftime.
After a couple goals were exchanged early in the third quarter, Garcia was able to break the tie and score a goal to give the Lions a 6-5 lead going into the final quarter.
In the opening 1:49 of the fourth quarter, the Explorers scored two goals to give them a 7-6 edge over Behrend. Sardaryzadeh, relentless on evening the score, tallied his third goal of the game for the Lions. As the game was coming to an end, La Salle's last second efforts to score a goal paid off, finding the back of the net with 14 seconds left in the match to end the game 8-7.
Later this afternoon, Behrend took on Washington & Jefferson for the second time this season. After an evenly fought match through the majority of the game, the Lions went on a 6-2 run in the second half to help secure a 10-6 victory.
Olimski was able to add another game with double-digit saves to his record, collecting another 17. Kyle Frerichs (Sellersville, PA/Pennridge) tallied three steals, two goals, and two assists while Garcia also added three steals, a goal, and an assist in the win.
After a back and forth first half of scoring, both the Lions and the Presidents were looking to break the 4-4 game. In the third quarter, four different players scored goals for Behrend to help them go on a 4-1 run through the quarter. Bruce Bursiek (Houston, TX/Cy-Fair High School) contributed to the Lions win by adding two assists and a steal.
Once the Lions started scoring, they never turned back. Both Valkusky and Frerichs were able to find their second goals on the contest in the fourth quarter, closing the quarter on a 2-1 run and ending the score at 10-6 in favor of Behrend.
The Lions continue their efforts in Connecticut when they face off against Connecticut College for the second time this season. Game time is set for noon.