Water polo makes splash at home

As the thunder of cheering spectators calmed, the UCSD men’s water polo team retired to the locker room pleased by their 6-3 victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions.

Anna MacMurdo

Focused practices, motivation and energy were the forces that aided the Tritons against the aggressive Lions in a dramatic duel on Oct. 11 at Canyonview Pool.

The victory was definitely a team effort, but athletes like goalkeeper Lance Onken and utility-players Clark Petersen, Jonathan Hopkins, Travis Boettner and Kellan Hori sparked the fans and kept them cheering throughout the game.

Standout player Petersen recognized the contributions of the entire team.

“”We all came out to play tonight,”” he said.

According to sophomore goalkeeper Brian Corbett, rigorous practices “”focusing on counterattacks and counterdefense”” allowed the Tritons to play their solid game. Six-in-six-out substitutions were UCSD head coach Denny Harper’s formula for success.

“”[The team] executed exactly what the coach wanted,”” freshman Mattias Cape said.

Although the Lions briefly managed to lead the Tritons after the lone first quarter point was scored by LMU’s Eric Lefebvre, the Lions’ initial offensive roar quickly turned into a hush.

The second quarter saw UCSD bounce back with a noteworthy point scored by Petersen. Boettner exhibited strong coordination skills, with great passes and assists the entire game. Hori also scored in a penalty shot that resulted in a Triton lead of 2-1 over Loyola.

The referees failed to notice the Lions’ overly-aggressive pounces in the third quarter, but the Tritons still kept the lead, with Hopkins blasting the ball twice into LMU’s goal and another shot made by Brandon Borso. Steals were made by Paul Motschall after a six-in-six-out substitution by UCSD.

The Tritons opened the fourth quarter with an energized charge that resulted in a penalty shot by Hopkins. Onken sustained repeated assaults by the Lions with a rapid series of saves. Borso scored after Motschall defeated a powerful LMU shot with a field block. During the final minute of play, Wesley Fox of LMU scored, but the Tritons eventually prevailed with a 6-3 victory.

Motschall was cited by Harper as an improved player, and Onken received praise for his seamless defense in three quarters of the game and only giving up one goal.

The stands were packed with loyal UCSD fans, despite FallFest’s tempting fun. Dazzled fan and Revelle College freshman Olivia Tomia narrowed her eyes while she examined the stands.

“”Students have a lot of spirit … and you can see the [UCSD men’s water polo] team work together well,”” Tomia said.

UCSD entered the game with a record of 13-8 and was ranked 11th in the latest Men’s National Collegiate Top 20 Poll. The sinking of seventh-ranked Loyola Marymount will likely boost both the rankings and morale of the Tritons while they eagerly await the game on Oct. 18 at Canyonview Pool against Claremont College, which will kick off UCSD homecoming weekend.