The most exciting of the latest men’s college water polo games was the MPSF face-off between Cal and UCLA water polo teams, after which the Bears had another challenge, against Long Beach State. Besides, USC squad stormed past UC Irvine, whereas Stanford collected four victories.
CAL HOLD OFF UCLA AND BEAT LBS
On October 21, No. 2 UCLA hosted the MPSF clash with No. 3 Cal water polo squad. Before this match, Cal Bears have only suffered one loss this season – to the Bruins, after overtime (8:9). UCLA has been defeated only once before this game too, by UC Irvine, also with a narrow result (8:9). Fun fact: all three of these teams’ duels went into overtime. UCLA also emerged as the winner of the last year’s MPSF Tournament semifinal game against Cal (11:10).
However, on Saturday, Cal water polo players proved too strong for their opponent. Led by Odysseas Masmanidis who netted three goals, the visiting team dominated most of the match and eventually celebrated (12:9).
Bears went ahead 2:0 thanks to Nikos Delagrammatikas and Johnny Hooper, but Bruins Warren Snyder and Matt Farmer responded appropriately leading to a tie. David Stiling then put UCLA into the lead, which was followed by Safak Simsek’s equalizer before the end of the first quarter (3:3).
Cal made a comeback when MPSF player of the week, Luca Cupido, netted for his team’s one-goal advantage. Nicolas Saveljic scored an equalizer, but after that, the Bruins were struggling to keep parity. The Bears went ahead 6:4 and 7:5, and manage to go on a break with a minimum advantage (7:6).
Crucial was the third period in which Cal water polo team increased their lead to three, which they preserved until the very end. UCLA failed to overcome the deficit and suffered their second loss this season. Both Masmanidis and Farmer recorded a hat trick.
UCLA 9:12 CAL
(3:3, 3:4, 1:3, 2:2)
On October, Cal came away with a nice 14:8 win against Long Beach State water polo team. In spite of the convincing result, the start of the game was a little more suspenseful. The match saw no goals until the middle of the first quarter when LBSU water polo player Austin Stewart netted the opener upsetting the visiting team. Cupido equalized immediately, and then both teams failed to score until the end of the first eight minutes (1:1).
Simsek then put the Bears into the lead for the first time during the game and they stepped up their game, overcame another tie and managed to save the advantage. After five consecutive goals scored by the Bears, Cal went ahead 7:2 and eliminated all doubts about who would be the winner. LBSU was unable to react and make a comeback as Cal dominated the rest of the match.
The Bears had a six-goal advantage before the final period, so they took their foot off the gas and finished the game without problems. The game’s top scorer was brilliant Masmanidis who again scored three goals.
CAL 14:8 LBSU
(1:1, 6:2, 5:3, 2:2)
BEATING UC IRVINE – EASY TASK FOR USC
After Fynn Schuetze scored the opener for UC Irvine, USC’s powerful play followed and they scored three goals in a row until the end of the first period (3:1). The successful shooting continued in the second quarter and USC raised the difference to five which probably determined the result. UCI managed to bring down the deficit to three in the third quarter (8:5), but the Trojans kept coming back even stronger preventing their rival from jeopardizing their lead. USC even had a seven-goal advantage in the final period (13:7), continued to control the game completely and prevented any surprises.
USC 13:8 UCI
(3:1, 4:2, 3:2, 3:3)
STANFORD WIN FOUR
Stanford hosted three matches last week and convincingly beat all of the opponents. On October 20, Cardinal first crushed Bucknell (11:3) and Wagner (20:5).
The hosts opened the match against Bucknell with five consecutive goals and immediately demonstrated their opponent that they are headed for a win. The visiting water polo players woke up in the second period and brought down the deficit to four before halftime (6:2), but they again failed to score in the third quarter and lost all their chances for threatening Cardinal. Ben Hallock excelled by scoring four goals, three of which during Stanford’s 5:0 streak.
STANFORD 11:3 BUCKNELL
(3:0, 3:2, 2:0, 3:1)
Wagner was the easiest opponent Stanford water polo players hadlast week. They went ahead 7:2 in the first quarter already, completely crushed their rivals leaving them scoreless not only in the second but also in the third period. The difference was truly insurmountable for the Seahawks. Reid Chase and Bennet Williams shined as they each netted four goals for Stanford.
STANFORD 20:5 WAGNER
(7:2, 4:0, 6:0, 3:3)
Cardinal’s next rival was Pepperdine water polo club which on October 21 also had no chance against them (9:3). Ben Hallock and Sawyer Rhodes led their team with three goals each towards another victory at home. The hosting team got off to a better start and achieved a two-goal advantage in the first quarter (4:2). Afterward, Stanford netted one unanswered goal in the second quarter, while the visiting team did the same in the third. Pepperdine was left scoreless in the final period when Stanford added four more to seal the victory.
STANFORD 9:3 PEPPERDINE
(4:2, 1:0, 0:1, 4:0)
On October 22, Stanford water polo players traveled to Santa Clara where they outscored the hosting team, 20:4. Cardinal allowed St. Francis Brooklyn to net only one goal in each of the quarters, while they kept on scoring all the time. Four Stanford’s water polo players – Cody Smith, Jackson Kimbell, Mitchell Mendoza and Hallock (again) – recorded a hat trick in this game.
STANFORD 20:4 ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN
(5:1, 3:1, 7:1, 5:1)