Four graduating seniors leave men's water polo

The experience of the players on the UCSD men’s water polo team has led the team to success in recent years. That experience will be missed next season as the leadership of four Tritons on the water polo team’s roster will be graduating this June.

Courtesy of UCSD Athletics

Seniors goalkeeper Lance Onken, driver Kellan Hori, two-meter offensive Bryon Spicer and two-meter defender Paul Mostchall all finished their water polo careers at UCSD, racking up many accomplishments in their four years on the team.

The graduating group led the Tritons to three Western Water Polo Association conference championships and many big wins. All four players remember upsetting USC in the 2000 Final Four to advance to the national championship, and each one said that is their fondest memory. Another noteworthy accomplishment for the group came this past season when the seniors were key factors in beating rival Loyola Marymount in all three of the teams’ meetings.

Individually, Onken played 112 of a possible 120 quarters in 2002, making 217 saves for the Tritons. He started virtually every game for UCSD in the past two years.

Hori, has been one of UCSD’s strongest offensive players. This past season, he scored 23 times and had 71 shot attempts.

“”He is the best shooter on the team,”” Onken said of Hori. “”He’s awesome.””

Spicer was also a solid contributor at the two-meter position for the Tritons. He tallied 14 goals in 2002 on 44 attempts, and also had nine assists and 10 steals.

Mostchall led UCSD with 34 steals and 11 blocks this year, and his competitive attitude helped anchor the Triton defense.

“”Paul is the meanest person I know,”” Onken said, emphasizing Mostchall’s strong defense.

With the absence of Onken, Hori, Spicer and Mostchall, there will be a significant gap in the Triton roster. However, to replace Onken, there are young goalies on the team in sophomore Bryan Corbett and freshmen Colin McElroy and David Miller, who will most likely split the time in front of the cage next season.

The leadership roles that all four seniors played on both the offensive and defensive sides of the pool will have to be succeeded by players like sophomores Jonathan Hopkins, Brandon Borso and Clark Peterson.

“”The sophomore group … works really hard, and they’ll step up,”” Hori said. “”They’ll give all the teams next year a run for their money.””

Although there may be players to fill the vacated positions, the experience will be hard to replace.

“”They are lacking in experience now,”” Onken said.

The graduating seniors will be around in the fall, helping the 2003 team develop into the perennial power that UCSD men’s water polo has become in the WWPA.

“”I will be giving back to the program for all that it has given to me,”” Onken said.