Well, Stanford did not have the lead for long. That’s because the UCLA Men’s Water Polo team defeated Southern Cal today 7-5 to win UCLA’s 114th NCAA title after the Cardinal had done this same this morning in the Women’s College Cup.
But, as predicted this was a hard-fought game that came down to defense in the fourth quarter as the Bruins kept the Trojans from scoring when it mattered most.
The first quarter belonged to Southern Cal. They got on the board first with a power play goal from Matthew Morelli with 6:42 to go in the first. Neither scored again until the Trojans picked up their second with just under two minutes to go, but, 17 seconds later, Quention Osbourne got UCLA on the scoreboard and it was 2-1, Southern Cal, after one.
The second quarter was a defensive struggle and each team only managed to score once. It was the Trojans getting the first goal of the period with 4:37 left in the half when Zach D’Sa increased the Southern Cal lead back to two. In the final 30 seconds, Alex Roelse made it 3-2 and that’s how the half ended.
It’s also how it stayed until there was 3:33 left in the third quarter when Matt Farmer tied the game for UCLA, but, as is so typical of water polo, Southern Cal responded immediately to retake the lead.
The Bruins looked to their leaders to tie it back up. Max Irving did just that with 1:56 left in the third and Roelse added his second goal to put the Bruins up 5-4 after three.
Early in the 4th quarter, Southern Cal tied it back up on a power play goal following an exclusion on Nicolas Saveljic. But, Farmer’s second goal of the game put the Bruins up for good with 6:05 to go.
The icing on the cake was the empty net full-pool shot by Bruin goalie Alex Wolf with 2 seconds to go and UCLA claimed its third Men’s Water Polo title in three years.