After spending last weeked at the Princeton Invitational and making a trip up to UCSB on Thursday, the #2 UCLA men’s water polo team returns home today for a tripleheader against the #10 Pepperdine Waves, the LMU Lions and an exhibition against a team of UCLA water polo alums.
Last Time Out
On Thursday night, the Bruins traveled up the 101 to UC Santa Barbara and, for the first time this season, the team found itself down at halftime. The Bruins got on the scoreboard first 29 seconds into the game when senior David Stiling scored a power play goal for UCLA. It stayed that way until then end of the second quarter when UCSB scored their first goal with 2:34 left.
Just 23 seconds later, freshman Jake Cavano broke that tie and UCLA retook the lead, but a pair of goals in the final 61 seconds of the half gave the Gauchos a 3-2 lead at the half.
After the break, the Bruins launched a 6-goal offensive barrage in the third quarter. Warren Snyder tied the game back up with a power play goal to start the second half scoring. Nicolas Saveljic broke the tie with 5:32 left in the quarter to put the Bruins up for good. Less than 40 seconds later, Felix Brozyna-Vilim gave UCLA a 5-3 lead, but UCSB cut the lead to one with 4:32 to go. The Bruins responded with consecutive goals from Austin Rone, Evan Rosenfeld and Luke Henriksson and UCLA took an 8-4 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, UCSB’s Boris Jovanovic scored a pair of goals to give him a hat trick and cut the lead to 8-6. Quentin Osborne scored the first of two fourth quarter goals to stretch the Bruin lead back to three with just under five minutes to go. However, the Gauchos weren’t done yet. They scored a goal with 1:52 left to cut the lead back to two, 9-7. Osborne sealed the game with the final goal of the game with 1:35 to go.
The Bruins’ first opponent this afternoon is the Pepperdine Waves. The Waves have played relatively well so far this season winning six of the first eight games. Their only losses have come against Brown and San Diego, with the Brown loss happening in double overtime. So far, Pepperdine is lacking a signature win and beating the Bruins at home would certainly give them that.
The Loyola Marymount Lions are probably better than their 2-4 record. They took both Cal Baptists and Pepperdine to overtime and played close games against UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.
The outcome of these games should never be in doubt, but the Bruins are going to need to get to work in each to come away with a win. Ultimately, I think UCLA will beat Pepperdine by 4 or 5 goals and LMU by 5 or 6, but the Bruins need to stay focused in both games or one of them could get away from them.
This is your UCLA Men’s Water Polo Tripleheader open thread.