Regular 2017 season of the Men’s College Water Polo is officially over.
Stanford water polo players stunned top-ranked Cal Bears, while UCLA edged out USC in overtime.
STANFORD UPSET CAL AND CRUSH SANTA CLARA
On November 9, No. 1 Cal water polo players were hosted by No. 3 Stanford in their last match before MPSF tournament. Given that Bears emerged as winners of these two teams’ last clash, as well as in the past four matches, the visiting team entered this face-off as the slight favorite. Brilliant Stanford made a surprise and managed to record a narrow 11:10 win.
Both teams started offensively, but the game saw an equal duel. The result was tied after eight minutes (4:4). The battle continued in the second quarter in which Cal squad managed to prevail and went on a break with a minimum advantage (6:5). However, Cardinal stepped up their game afterward and completely overpowered the top-ranked Bears. The hosts netted six goals, took over the lead and had a three-goal lead before the final period (11:8). Then Cal responded bringing down the deficit to one. Bears did leave their rivals scoreless but failed to equalize. Cardinal eventually celebrated thanks to the perfect defense during the last minutes of the game (11:10).
STANFORD 11:10 CAL
(4:4, 1:2, 6:2, 0:2)
Santa Clara was an easy opponent for the confident Cardinal. Stanford demonstrated power immediately and went ahead 5:0. Santa Clara netted one before the end of the first quarter, but that was their only goal before the halftime. Stanford squad added five more and went on a break with a nine-goal lead (10:1) eliminating all doubts about who would win the match.
STANFORD 18:3 SANTA CLARA
UCLA HOLD OFF USC BY SUDDEN VICTORY GOAL
Max Irving and Alex Roelse led the Bruins to their first conference victory this year. The winner of this dramatic match was not determined even after two overtime periods.
Marko Vavic netted the opener for USC, and James Walters increased his team’s advantage to two. Bruins woke up, Irving and Roelse each found the net once and the result was tied. Trojans had a minimum advantage after eight minutes as Laza Pasuljevic managed to score before the end of the quarter (2:3). USC again had a two-goal advantage in the second quarter, but the Bruins cut the difference down to one before halftime (4:5).
The beginning of the second half saw Matteo Morelli put USC into a 6:4 lead, but UCLA responded and shot three equalizers in the third period. The tied result (8:8) announced a tough battle in the last quarter, and it was really filled with a lot of suspense. UCLA’s goalkeeper Alex Wolf made a crucial save leading the game into overtime. Blake Edwards put USC into the lead, but Nicolas Saveljic saved the Bruins and the second overtime period followed. After Roelse’s goal, UCLA had their hopes high, but Edwards equalized. UCLA Bruins eventually celebrated the sudden victory after Matt Farmer found the net (12:11).
UCLA 12:11 USC
(2:3, 2:2, 4:3, 1:1 – 1:1, 1:1, 1:0)
UPCOMING MPSF CHAMPIONSHIP
Regular season title went to Stanford and Cal water polo players. As for the seeding, Cardinal is the top-seeded team, followed by the Bears. UCLA took No. 3, USC is seeded 4th and Penn State-Behrend is 5th.
MPSF Championship will take place on November 17-19. Day One pairings are the following:
USC vs. Penn State-Behrend
Stanford vs. USC
Cal vs. UCLA
Stanford vs. PNS