Two Conference Road Wins Evens Water Polo’s Record at 11-11

    The No. 11 Tritons suffered a disappointing second-half loss against No. 7 UC Irvine on Oct. 23, narrowly missing a three-game sweep and forcing UCSD to settle for a 2-1 weekend.

    The Anteaters scored four goals in the third quarter to erase the Tritons’ commanding halftime lead, handing the team a tough 7-6 loss. UCSD recovered the next day and executed a quick turnaround in its Oct. 24 doubleheader, posting conference victories over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont to even the Tritons’ record at 11-11.

    UCSD’s road trip continues this weekend when the team faces off against Loyola Marymount University and Cal State Long Beach. Both teams have dealt the Tritons defeats this season.

    The Tritons finished off last weekend on a high note, defeating Pomona-Pitzer 10-6. Junior driver Bryce Madsen, junior driver Ryan Allred and senior driver Sean Roberts each scored two goals apiece, while sophomore goalkeeper David Morton blocked 12 Pomona-Pitzer shot attempts.

    Allred has been on an offensive roll since scoring his first six goals of the season against Chapman University on Oct. 9. The transfer now has 20 scores on the season.

    “Ryan is a great player with one of the quickest shots I’ve ever seen,” Roberts said. “We knew that, coming from a [junior college], Ryan was going to have to step up and play intense on defense and offense. Overall, he’s a very sound player and his quickness is probably his best attribute.”

    Coming off their loss to UC Irvine, the Tritons faced CMS for the first time this year. The last time these two teams met, UCSD demolished CMS 24-8 in the 2008 Western Water Polo Association Tournament. This time around, UCSD wasn’t able to run up the score as high, but still came away with an 11-8 win. The Tritons jumped ahead to a 4-1 lead after the first period and extended their lead to 7-2 at halftime. UCSD stayed strong in the third period, scoring three times for a 10-4 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

    Senior two-meter defender Steven Donohoe led UCSD with three goals, while Madsen and senior two-meter defender Peter Gresham netted two scores. Four other Tritons got on the board with one goal each.

    “We wanted to bring the same intensity that we brought against Irvine and we knew Claremont wouldn’t be able to handle counterattack and our press,” Roberts said. “In the end, it paid off.”

    Friday night, the Tritons faced off against a streaking Anteater squad — UC Irvine came into the contest having won six straight, including an Oct. 11 victory against UCSD. The Tritons came out strong, holding the Anteaters to one goal in the first half and scoring three in the second period to lead 4-1 at halftime.

    UC Irvine entered the second half with renewed strength, jumping on UCSD for two scores in the first three minutes and cutting the Tritons’ lead to one goal. Madsen got the Tritons back on track, converting on a six-on-five opportunity with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. The Anteaters took advantage of Triton defensive miscues, closing out the period with two man-up goals to even the score heading into the final period.

    “During the first half we had really strong intensity on defense and on the counterattack,” Roberts said. “We came out with same intensity in the second half but we weren’t as consistent.”

    Junior driver Sean Cruz regained the lead with a six-on-five conversion two minutes in. UC Irvine’s Tom Kruip tied it up with a goal one minute later, and the Anteaters scored again with 2:28 left in regulation to claim their first scoring advantage of the game. The Tritons were unable to fight back, falling to the Anteaters by one goal for the second time this season.

    “Overall, we showed good effort in the game,” Roberts said. “We knew going into it that this was going to be a physical game and we brought physicality to it. They just made one more goal than we did.”

    UCSD now prepares for a face off at Cal State Long Beach on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. and an away match against WWPA rival Loyola Marymount University on Oct. 31 at noon. The Tritons look to reverse a recent string of losses to the No. 1 Lions, which include three defeats to the team earlier this season.

    “We want to show them that we belong in the top 10,” Roberts said. “We know we have to have no mental mistakes against these teams.”

    Readers can contact Janani Sridharan at [email protected].

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