Watergate: P-P Falls 8-6 to Redlands After Referees Controversial Decision

If Carrot Top and Marlon Wayans were to replace Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, it would not be as bad as the call made Wednesday night. If Daniel Snyder were to own the Washington Redskins forever, it would not be as bad as the call made Wednesday night. If soccer were to actually become popular in America, it would not be as bad as the call made Wednesday night. If Kim Jong Il were to use the United States Constitution as toilet paper, it would not be as bad … ok, that would actually be worse.“That was redonkulous!” commented fan Ben Conway PO ’10. “Redonkulous” seems to adequately describe what transpired at Haldeman Pool to mar what had been, up to that point, an exciting NCAA water polo game.The contest featured Pomona-Pitzer (3-0 in SCIAC) versus perennial power Redlands (2-1) in a regular season match-up with major playoff seeding implications.In order to fully understand what occurred in the 8-6 P-P loss and the context of what experts have dubbed “Watergate Part Deux,” we need to go back to the beginning. It was an unusually cold night for polo, as Halloween week spooked on. The teams looked even early, with neither defense relenting. Ryan Balikian PO ’11 got the scoring started with a powerful shot that hit the goalie’s hand but defied Newton’s first law of motion, and, despite being acted upon by an outside force, stayed in uniform motion.After the Bulldogs tied the score at 1-1 with 3:40 remaining in the first, the Sagehens were blessed with an ejection to bail out their ugly possession. The team instantly capitalized with David Lee PO ’10 finishing off a three-man game triggered by Ben Hadley PO ’11 and Jaron Moler PO ’12.The defense continued to play well and, despite back-to-back offensive penalties, took a 2-1 lead into the second period of play. While Redlands looked faster throughout the first quarter, the Sagehen defense stayed disciplined and in position.After Robbie Hayes PO ’10 drew an ejection at 6:02 in the second, P-P once again seized the opportunity as Cody Moore PO ’13 scored off a brilliant touch pass from Balikian to make the score 3-1 Sagehens.Following Redlands’ power play goal at 5:10, the game went back and forth with both teams giving the ball away and failing to utilize chances. The final shot of the half hit off the crossbar, bopped P-P goalie Kyle Pokorny PO ’12 on the head, and was not counted as one of his five saves of the night. Heading into the locker room, the cold weather was reflected in the scoring with the Sagehens leading 3-2.The chill had no bearing on the P-P defense as they continued their fiery play with field blocks and steals galore. Second half scoring was ignited at 4:55 when Hayes drew a 5-meter penalty shot that Hadley easily buried in the back of the cage for a 4-2 lead.With the defense playing well and a two-goal lead, momentum swung when an outside turnover resulted in a Mark Hudnall PO ’13 ejection. The subsequent 6-5 prompted a 4-0 run by Redlands that finally ended once Jason Cox PI ’12 scored on a breakaway pass from Hadley to draw the score to 5-6 Redlands with 4:55 remaining in the contest.Another Redlands goal pushed the deficit back up to 5-7. With 2:30 left, Balikian drew another 5-meter penalty and Hadley once again deposited the sphere for his second goal in twice as many quarters.Now recall earlier when I mentioned that something bad happened? Well get ready, ‘cause here it comes.With 1:50 left, a foul appeared to be called on Hudnall. The Redlands player he was guarding did not realize this and waltzed in unabated and put the ball in the goal. However, if the call was a foul, it was not a goal because it would be illegal to attack directly after the call. Thus, as a result of the supposed foul call, neither Hudnall, goalie Pokorny, nor anyone else tried to stop him.The goal appeared not to count, and the Sagehens took back possession of the ball. No goal was signalled. After the Sagehens did not score, and the subsequent Redlands attacked missed a shot wide, an excited crowd found a classic situation: 43 seconds, down one, two of the best teams in the conference. What more could we ask for?All those in attendance then witnessed the death of the innocence of sport. The referees got together at the behest of the Redlands coach and, after much deliberation, decided that they actually never called a foul. The Redlands goal would count, and the clock would be reset. New situation folks: 1:50, 6-8 Redlands, two of the worst refs in the world.WHAT?! Did that just … ? Can they do … ? What?“I’ve never seen that before,” said a dumb-founded coach Alex Rodriguez. “Didn’t think they could do that. They claimed they never called the foul, so that shot was actually live and Mark dropped off and let him shoot.”Never in my 21 years of sport-watching experience have I seen anything like this. Letting the teams play on and then putting more than one minute back on the clock and giving the other team a goal? It’s like they discovered the flux capacitor and decided to go back in time and change the past.Regardless of whether or not the initial call was correct (refs are human, they make mistakes) that should never, ever happen.The game ended with the same 6-8 score, as the Sagehens had both shots on their next two possessions blocked, and the fans left disgruntled, having had a fantastic finish snatched right out from under them.Rodriguez was quick to give Redlands credit for disrupting the P-P offense by “hustling and playing hard,” but it was clear his mind was still on the most astounding call this reporter has ever seen.Unlike the refs, the team must acknowledge what happened and move on. The Whittier Poets come to Haldeman for a game 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. Coach Rodriguez expects a “very physical game,” and a win will put the Sagehens into a three-way tie for first.At this point, the most important thing to remember is you can’t change the past, and a rematch with Redlands is in the team’s future.But just so we’re clear, if I had to have a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet for the rest of my life, it would not be as bad as the call made Wednesday night.

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