No. 6 Tritons topple No. 12 Tigers

    The No. 6 UCSD men’s water polo team handled a challenge from the No. 12 Princeton University Tigers with a 12-7 victory on Oct. 7 at Canyonview Pool to improve to 18-2 on the season.

    Carina Weber/Guardian
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    Four San Diego Chargers cheerleaders came out to root for the Tritons and they joined the fans in cheering the team to victory, thanks to four second-quarter goals.

    Princeton woke everyone up by scoring first, but UCSD fought back as senior Brandon Borso pounded in the Tritons’ first goal.

    “Every moment in the game is purposeful,” Borso said. “We work hard at practice, so scoring is almost routine and is just an indication that practice is paying off.”

    With a minute and 41 seconds remaining in the first quarter, senior Chris Finegold contributed another goal to give the Tritons their first lead.

    However, it didn’t last long, as Princeton’s John Stover tied up the game with his second score of the night, making it 2-2 going into the second period.

    The Tritons ended the tie by dominating the Tigers in the second quarter.

    UCSD outscored the Tigers 4-0, with two goals each by senior Chris Eichholz and Borso.

    The final goal of the quarter came with only three seconds left on the clock.

    Sophomore Adnan Jerovic added yet another point to the scoreboard at the opening of the third quarter, followed by a desperate follow-up goal by Stover to bring the score to 7-3.

    Junior Ty Lackey and senior Jonathan Hopkins then carried UCSD to a confident 9-3 lead with two more goals in the third quarter.

    The Tigers scratched their way back to a 9-5 deficit before Hopkins netted his second goal of the third quarter to give the Tritons five-goal lead.

    The game ended much like it began, with two goals from both teams in the final quarter. UCSD used its most dangerous weapons, Borso and Hopkins, to do the final damage.

    “Our biggest competition is ourselves,” Hopkins said. “If we do all that we can, we are capable of beating any team.”

    With the chlorine washed off and the sweet victory from the previous night still fresh in their minds, the guys dove in the pool once again the next day for their alumni game.

    “It was nice to see all the guys again who are recognized in all kinds of record books,” Borso said. “They shared their past experiences with us and it was very humbling.”

    Although this game did not affect their record and was simply for fun, the team now sets its sights and efforts on the Northern California Tournament at UC Berkeley on Oct. 15 and 16.

    The Tritons hope to win the first game in the tournament so they can advance and have a shot at playing UCLA and Stanford, whom they have yet to beat.

    The team’s ultimate goals for the rest of the season are to win its Western Water Polo Association division and then progress to take the National Championship at Bucknell University.

    “All the guys on the team get along really well and hang out a lot outside of polo,” Borso said, explaining the Tritons’ success. “I think our winnings stem from this natural chemistry and playing as a tight unit. The coaching staff is really working us, but also make it very enjoyable. We have a pretty firm belief that we have the ability to beat any team, any day. We just take it one game at a time and don’t underestimate any team we come up against.”

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