UCSD Has Two Faces in Irvine

The No. 13 men’s water polo team played like two
different squads in its first two games of the Southern California Tournament
at UC Irvine on Oct. 13, earning in a 1-1 record for the day.

The Tritons played a solid first half of their
opening game against No. 7 UC Irvine, but fell apart in the second half to take
a 10-5 loss. UCSD followed that game up
with a poor first half against No. 16 Princeton University but rebounded in the second half to win the
game by a score of 10-9.

The Tritons came out
strong in the first half against a tough UC Irvine squad. The UCSD defense, led
by freshman goalkeeper Mark Stemler, held up well against the Anteaters,
allowing only two goals in the entire half.

“It was surreal,” junior driver Chance Vermilyea said of
the team’s first-half play. “It was probably the best half we’ve had all
season. We weren’t really thinking. We were just executing really well as a

Sophomore two-meter Daniel Garcia scored three goals in
the loss, with senior driver Curtis Williamson and sophomore two-meter defender
Steven Donohoe scoring the rest of the goals for UCSD. Sophomore utility Peter
Gresham played well defensively, getting in the goal and blocking two five-meter
penalty shots when Stemler was ejected.

The game’s second half was a struggle for the Tritons as
UC Irvine outscored them 8-2 at the half and 5-1 in the fourth quarter. UCSD
was not able to convert on its 6-on-5 offense and could not stop the Anteaters
on their man-up opportunities.

Vermilyea blamed the Tritons’ poor second half on weak

“In the second half we were really scattered and played as
individuals,” he said.

The Tritons struggled
in back-to-back halves as they were down early in their second game of the day
against Princeton University. UCSD was not able to get anything going against
Princeton in the first half, with the Tigers outscoring the Tritons 6-2 in the
first two quarters.

Nature, it seems, may
have been the Tritons’ main adversary against the Tigers.

“The sun was a huge
factor in the first half,” Garcia said. “We couldn’t see who we were passing
to. It was the time of the day that the sun was setting right behind the cage.”

With the sun now at
their backs in the second half, the Tritons went back to the style of team play
that they had begun the day with against UC Irvine. UCSD opened the third
quarter with five unanswered goals to take the lead in the game.

The two teams played
tightly the rest of the half, exchanging leads and tying the game on several
occasions. With less than five minutes left, Princeton converted on a 6-on-5
opportunity to take a 9-8 lead in the game. UCSD answered back when Garcia hit
the equalizer with less than three minutes left in the game. He also notched
the game-winning goal with less than one minute left in the game.

The win was pivotal
for UCSD as the Tritons came from behind to avoid losing two games on the same

“We knew we needed to
bounce back from the loss to Irvine and get a big win,” Vermilyea said.

Garcia had four goals
in the game, including the tying and winning goals, and Donohoe added two
scores for the Tritons. Vermilyea, Williamson, sophomore utility Ian Bausback
and senior driver Ben Miller added one goal apiece for UCSD.

The Tritons opened up
their second day at the Southern California Tournament in Irvine against Saint
Francis College on Oct. 14 with a record of 10-9 and will return home to face
UC Davis on Oct. 19.