Tritons take out Claremont

    The red-hot UCSD men’s water polo team faced the Claremont College Stags at Canyonview Pool on Oct. 18.

    Rebecca Drexler
    Guardian

    The match started at 6 p.m. and for all intents and purposes was over by 6:15 p.m., when the Tritons took a commanding 5-0 lead at the end of the first period on their way to a 9-0 lead at the end of the first half. The final score was 13-4.

    “”We took care of business and did what we had to do,”” said sophomore Nate Cooper, who netted one goal in the contest.

    The win raised the Tritons’ record to 15-8 on the season, including 11 wins in their past 13 games. The Stags entered the game 2-11 on the season, having lost nine straight, and things didn’t get much better for them playing against the No. 11-ranked Tritons.

    “”They were our rivals in the ’80s,”” said UCSD head coach Denny Harper. “”Lately, their program is trying to rebuild.””

    Because UCSD regularly gives 12 players significant minutes, it may have been difficult for UCSD to make any difference by emptying its bench. But some players who hadn’t been seeing much game time so far did get a chance to play against Claremont.

    “”A few guys who haven’t been traveling with us got some minutes,”” Harper said. “”They’ve worked hard in practice and are a big part of our team.””

    The Tritons seemed to take it a little easier on the Stags in the second half, during which the two teams scored four goals each.

    “”We’re not the type of program that wants to [demoralize] a team like Claremont,”” Harper said. “”We want the game to still be fun.””

    A day after the shellacking of Claremont, UCSD played in the alumni game Oct. 19 against several Triton players from years past.

    “”Those guys support us a lot,”” Cooper said. “”It’s good to be able to give back.””

    But even during the homecoming festivities, it was clear that the Tritons’ focus was already on their next opponent, the No. 6-ranked Pepperdine Waves. Earlier this month, the Tritons lost to the Waves 11-8 in a close match. But the previous games’ experience gave the Tritons reason to be optimistic for their second match with Pepperdine.

    “”We played close with them,”” Cooper said, remembering the previous contest. “”They’re a team we know we can play with. If we beat them, we’ll get more respect.””

    Harper is calling for strong crowd support against a tough Pepperdine squad, which, like the No. 1-ranked Stanford team they’ve already beaten this year, includes from the U.S. national team.

    “”I need the whole campus at this game,”” Harper said.

    UCSD will host Pepperdine at 1 p.m. on Oct. 27 at Canyonview Pool.

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