Undefeated UCLA defeated in close match with USC Trojans; Cal wins close match with NorCal rival.
The previously undefeated UCLA men’s water polo team was finally dish a defeat by The University of Southern California Trojans in an important MPSF match. The Trojans shined bright on Saturday morning at Uytengsu Aquatics Center defeating the Bruins 8-7. The Bruins got on the board first with a five meter penalty shot from junior Max Irving. The Bruins then went up 2-0 with a second goal from Chancellor Ramirez from long range. The Trojans responded with a shot on goal from Lazar Pasuljevic. The Trojans weren’t finished yet, Zach D’Sa scored a nearside skip beating UCLA goalie Garrett Danner. The game was tied 2-2 heading into the second quarter.
The second quarter of play added more back and forth excitement from these two water polo powerhouses. Left handed Grant Stein gave USC their first lead of the game after four minutes of no scoring in the second frame. USC found the back of the net again from their big man from down under Lachlan Edwards who pushed the lead to two. UCLA refused to back down and lefty Ryder Roberts scored a man up goal with less than a minute left to play in the half. USC led 4-3 heading into the half time break.
The third period added more action and excitement as USC looked to end UCLA’s incredible win streak. Roberts scored his second of three goals off another man up play to bring all scores to 4, only to have USC answer back with another goal from Pasuljevic. UCLA was not ready to concede anything and the next few plays showed that. Roberts seemingly being a one man army scored his third goal after a previous shot of his hit the cross bar. UCLA managed to get the rebound and Roberts did not miss again. With the game tied 5-5 UCLA saw their chance to take the lead and they did just that with a score from 2016 American Olympian Alex Roesle. Roesle’s managed a shot passed his Olympic teammate McQuin Baron and put his team up 6-5.
Senior and 2013 NCAA Champion Nick Bell of USC opened up the 4th quarter by equalizing the score and shifting the momentum in USC’s favor. Nick received a beautiful no look pass from teammate Blake Edwards to score from the post. With less than three minutes remaining USC was able to connect again from big lefty Grant Stein. Stein put his team up by 2 and victory seemed in sight. UCLA was still not ready to back down and they were going to show how they were able to win 57 games in a row. Ramirez scored another goal from a man up situation to bring all scores to 7, but this would be UCLA’s last goal of the game. Blake Edwards would connect with the back of the net with only 38 second left in regulation to seal the win for the Trojans. Goalie McQuin Baron managed a big block with 15 seconds to play and that was it. The streak was over and USC improves to 20-1 while UCLA adds one loss to their record and first since November 18th, 2014.
Both teams looks ahead to the MPSF tournament where USC is awarded the top seed. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic berth to the NCAA championship.
The Cal Bears finish their regular season with a big MPSF win at home against Stanford. The team celebrated the win but now it focuses on the NCAA championships that will take place at the Spieker aquatics center in just a few short weeks. Cal looks to make a push to the NCAA championships after gaining a no. 3 national ranking. The final score was not a good indication of the game as Cal led 5-3 at half and 10-6 heading into the fourth quarter. The four goal bolster proved necessary as Stanford pushed in the fourth quarter with four goals almost defeating the golden bears. Senior goalie Lazar Andric has a stellar game tying his career high 20 saves. Andric and the rest of the golden bears look ahead to the MPSF championships being held at UCLA starting November 18th where Cal will meet UCLA in the first game. Stanford looks to change their fortunes in the tournament and push for a chance to play in the NCAA championships.
Southern California High School water polo enters into its final weeks
The CIF-SS boy’s water polo finals are almost upon us as we enter into the final week of competition. In Division 1 Loyola will meet Orange Lutheran in one side of the bracket and on the other side Huntington Beach High School with play powerhouse Harvard Westlake. The Finals will take place November 19th at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, CA. In Division 2 Laguna Beach will match up with Murrieta Valley and on the other side of the bracket Ventura will meet Santa Margarita. Division three sees Riverside Poly and Oaks Christian playing on one side and on the other Aliso Niguel and Redlands East Valley. Division 4 sees Northwood High School and Yucaipa meeting in one semi-final match and on the other side Royal High School and for the first time in over twenty years St. John Bosco. We wish all teams’ good luck in all the divisions and we will report all the division winners after the competition takes place.