The Tritons closed their Western Water Polo Association schedule, losing back-to-back against Cal State Long Beach on Thursday and UC Irvine on Saturday
The No. 10 men’s water polo ended regular season play after falling 15–13 to Long Beach State and then 11–10 to UC Irvine. The Tritons finished their 2013 season 12–13 overall and 4–1 in the Western Water Polo Association.
UCSD recorded its second straight overtime loss against Cal State Long Beach on Thursday. The Tritons held the lead into the final quarter, capitalizing on strong play from junior driver David Higginson, who scored four goals in the campaign. Up 11–8 at the beginning of the fourth period, UCSD allowed the 49ers to rally back and tie the match with two minutes left on the clock.
After a back-and-forth volley in the last minute that left UCSD down 13–12, Higginson was able to force overtime by scoring the tying goal with 10 seconds left to play. The 49ers shut out the Triton offense in both overtime periods and added two goals to the Long Beach tally, winning 15–13.
On Saturday, No. 9 UC Irvine beat the Tritons 11–10 after four quarters and six lead changes.
Starting the final period, the match was tied at seven goals apiece. UC Irvine had two goals at the opening of the period, establishing a 9–7 lead. Higginson and freshman driver Nick Alexander quickly responded and tied the game at nine.
The Anteaters managed another goal to go up 10–9, but with one minute left in play, junior two-meter defense Tommy Friedrich answered for UCSD. The Anteater’s final goal came with just 17 seconds left on the clock, narrowly ending UCSD’s upset attempt.
Higginson scored another four goals for the Tritons, with Friedrich adding another three.
Coming off three consecutive losses in the last few weeks of play, UCSD will host two exhibition matches against club teams Sunset San Diego and the San Francisco Olympic Club on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Postseason play will commence for the Tritons Nov. 22 to Nov. 23 at the Western Water Polo Association Championships, which will be held at UC Davis.
The Tritons’ 4–1 record in the conference will earn them either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the tournament. UC Davis’s performance over the next week will decide the final conference standings going into the championship. The schedule for the tournament is expected to be released later this week.
The WWPA champion will get an automatic bid to compete in the 2013 National Championship, hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto from Dec. 7 to Dec. 8.