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Tournament Split Furthers Water-Polo Troubles

MEN’S WATER POLO — Competing alongside several of the nation’s top teams, the No. 11 men’s water-polo team returned from their Southern California tournament, from Oct. 10 to Oct., 11 with mixed results. The Tritons split their games on both days of the UC Irvine Invitational, first falling 10-6 to longtime rival No. 5 Loyola Marymount before picking up an 8-5 win over No. 13 Pacific. Day two saw the Tritons lose a hard-fought game 8-7 to No. 9 UC Irvine, but they ended on a high note when UCSD defeated No. 12 UC Davis for the third consecutive time this season, in a resounding 11-4 victory. “In college polo, it’s important to be able to swim up and down the pool at an elite level,” senior driver Sean Roberts said. “In the games against UC Davis and Pacific, we played up to the physicality that both teams brought. It was actually fun getting into it with them. The same can be said about Irvine. It was a hard physical game, and we just came up short one goal in the end.” The Tritons put together a balanced attack with seven players contributing offensively. Holding a slight 3-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter, UCSD then scored the first four goals of the second quarter to snatch a 7-2 lead and ultimately gain control of the contest. On solid defense, the Tritons held the Aggies to one goal in the second half, enabling UCSD to cruise to an 11-4 win. Senior Steven Donohoe led the Tritons with three goals. Senior driver Bryce Madsen and junior driver Ryan Allred added two goals apiece. Senior utility Ian Bausback, senior drivers Sean Roberts and Kneif Lohse and junior driver Sean Cruz also scored toward UCSD’s win. Earlier that day, the Tritons faced the UC Irvine Anteaters for what would be a well-fought match. Trailing 4-6 upon entering the final period, the Anteaters extended their advantage when they scored two fourth-quarter goals to secure an 8-5 lead. Senior two-meter defender Peter Gresham and Roberts gave the Tritons a chance when Gresham scored at the 1:26 mark to cut the margin by two. With 47 seconds remaining, Roberts converted on a man-up opportunity to pull the Tritons within one — but the late-game surge was not enough to overtake the Anteaters, and UCI held on for the 8-7 win. The Tritons opened the tournament on Oct. 10 facing their toughest rivals: the LMU Lions. In a 10-6 defeat, the Tritons trailed 5-2 at the end of the first half, and were never quite able to claw their way back into the game. “Against LMU, we are still figuring out some tactical ways to address the team,” Roberts said. “The important thing is that every time we play them, we learn new things about their strategy, and that will pay off later at [the Western Water Polo Association Championships].” In their match against Pacific, UCSD fared much better. Pacific narrowed UCSD’s lead to 6-5, but senior two-meter defender Steven Donohoe fired in goals to boost the Triton advantage to 8-5. In the final period, UCSD’s defense held Pacific to zero scores, securing the win. With the 2-2 showing at the tournament, the Tritons’ record now stands at 9-9 for the season. “At this point in the season, it’s all about taking steps forward and not backward,” Roberts said. “Right now, we need to play more physical ball with a determination.” UCSD is back in action this Friday, Oct. 16, when the Tritons will host the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. ...