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
    team.”

    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
    teamwork.

    “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
    day.

    “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.

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