When the Long Beach State 49ers paid a visit to the Spieker Aquatics Center, it was concerning. The Bruins have seemed to struggle of late with teams in the bottom half of the Top 10. Three weeks ago, they lost to UC Irvine, 9-8, and, two weeks ago, they narrowly beat Pepperdine, 8-7.
So, what’s a team to do? Go to your star freshmen, of course! And, that’s exactly what the Bruins did from the opening sprint when Nicolas Saveljic took the opening sprint and put the Bruins up 1-0 just 25 seconds into the game. Then, Chasen Travisano made it 2-0 with 6 minutes to play in the first quarter, but the 49ers got the final goal of the period to make it 2-1 after one.
Seniors Jesse Camou and Max Irving got the Bruins two goals in the second quarter, but Long Beach State added two of their own and UCLA had a 4-3 at the half.
Saveljic scored his second goal of the game in the third, but, again, the 49ers responded with a goal of their own from Chandler Kaltenbach. That made it 5-4 after three quarters.
Saveljic’s power play goal with 4:50 left was the first goal of the fourth quarter while Camou added his second goal just 35 seconds later, giving UCLA a 7-4 lead. Long Beach State, meanwhile, tried to start a comeback when Duncan Lynde scored with 3:42 left, but Travisano got the Bruins an insurance goal that made it 8-5 with just under 3 minutes to go. In the final three minutes, the 49ers could only muster one more goal from Nemanja Bakic, his second of the game, and the final score was 8-6.
Today, the Bruins welcome defending National Champion UC Berkeley to Westwood in their first MPSF game of the season. Of course, UCLA knocked off the then-number one Golden Bears, 9-8, less than a month ago in overtime to take over the top spot in the CWPA Top 20 Poll. Can the Bruins do it again?
They will need to in order to position themselves for the coming postseason.
The opening sprint is at 11 am PT.