A huge upset for waterpolo

    The UCSD men’s water polo team scored one of the biggest upsets of the year with a 7-3 pounding of second-ranked University of Southern California on Sunday afternoon at McDonald’s Swim Stadium in Los Angeles.

    Guardian file photo

    This was an important win for the Tritons.

    “”This win was big for us,”” UCSD head coach Denny Harper said. “”It was only our second really tough game of the year, the first being Saturday’s game against Pepperdine, which is ranked No. 4. Prior to this, we had only played teams ranked below us, so it was getting tough for us. We were ready to see how we’d do against the tough competition. We definitely responded.””

    The Tritons, who are currently ranked ninth in the nation with an 11-1 record, handed the mighty Trojans their third consecutive loss. It was the second-straight time that UCSD had defeated USC, dating back to the 9-8 victory in the 2000 National Collegiate Athletic Association Champion-ships in Malibu, Calif.

    “”We seem to have a thing going with the Trojans,”” Harper said.

    The Trojans, who fell to 4-3 for the year, were knocked on their backs early by the relentless Triton attack.

    UCSD took the early lead after Brett Allan connected on a penalty shot at the 3:10 mark. That lead was increased on a power-play goal from Kellan Hori three minutes later. UCSD’s Predrag Damjanov scored on a back-handed goal to pull the Trojans to within one at the close of the first period of play.

    The Tritons scored three unanswered goals to begin the second period and took complete control of the match. Two of the goals came on power plays. USC’s Daniel Lontay scored a goal to close the second period, but the damage had already been done. UCSD took a commanding 5-2 lead into the final period.

    Lontay added another goal for the Trojans, but the Tritons added a pair in the final period to put the game away.

    Lance Onken was solid in goal for UCSD, stopping 10 shots en route to the victory. USC’s Bozidar Damjanovic could only manage seven saves that afternoon.

    Leading the offensive attack for the Tritons was Jonathan Samuels, who scored three goals for the hat trick. Allan, Hori, Clark Peterson and Paul Motachall each had a goal in the win.

    “”We just went out there and played our game,”” Harper said. “”Our defense was especially great. They had us a man down nine times, but we held them scoreless during those stretches. We were four out of six in those situations. That was the game right there.””

    UCSD will next be in action at the 2001 Nor-Cal Tournament this weekend at Stanford University. The Tritons will take on UC Irvine in the opening game on Saturday.

    “”[The game against UC Irvine] is going to be a huge game for us,”” Harper said. “”If we win, then we will get to play the top teams. If we lose, we will be back to playing lower teams, which won’t help us to get any better.””

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