Water polo looks toward seniors for leadership

    The 2005 UCSD men’s water polo team opened up its season at home at its very own invitational, hosting the UCSD Triton Invitational on Sept. 3 and Sept. 4, in which UCSD went 3-1 against four nationally ranked teams from across the country.

    In their season opener, the No. 7 Tritons (11-2, overall) beat up on No. 18 Whittier College to win their first game, 17-1. Later that night, the Tritons defeated No. 17 University of Redlands by a score of 15-8. With the wins, the Tritons advanced to the semifinal round where they played then-No. 7 UC Irvine and earned a spot in the championship by edging the Anteaters in an 8-7 overtime win, thanks to senior driver Chris Eichholz’s late score. The win put them up against No. 6 Pepperdine in the championship later that evening. However, by the time the stars lit up the night sky, the Tritons were already on their way to a tough loss, 11-8. The Waves never allowed the Tritons to take a lead in a victory spearheaded by Adam Hewko’s six goals against the Tritons.

    Following the Triton Invitational, the team traveled to the East Coast for a game in Pennsylvania and four in New Jersey. On Sept.9, the Tritons beat Bucknell 15-7 before traveling to Princeton, N.J., for the Princeton Invitational on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11. At the meet, the Tritons went 4-0, beating Queens 21-5, St. Francis with a score of 11-10 in overtime, Gannon with a score of 16-2 and Princeton 11-9, in the final game.

    Winning five games in three days all on the road led the Tritons into a week-long rest before starting the Southern California Tournament on Sept. 17. UCSD beat No. 13 UC Davis in their morning game with a final score of 13-6 but lost the nightcap to No. 2 Berkeley, 8-6. In the next day’s games, the Tritons added two more victories in games over No. 6 Long Beach State and No. 5 Pepperdine with scores of 11-10 and 10-9, respectively.

    The Tritons have plenty of upcoming games to improve their record and improve on their 2004 season, in which they went 20-12 and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. After their most recent tournament, the Tritons will face Loyola Marymount at home on Sept. 23 before heading north for the UC Santa Cruz Slug Fest on Sept. 24. Head coach Denny Harper will need to lead his team full of experienced seniors through a tough Western Water Polo Association schedule and to the NCAA Tournament, where it will look to improve upon last year’s 12th-place finish.

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