Triton Water Polo Gets Huge Wins Over Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount

    The UCSD men’s water polo team finished strong in last weekend’s SoCal Tournament, with two wins in close matches against perennial powerhouses Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount Universities.

    “Pepperdine, of course, is annually a very, very strong team, fully-funded scholarship program, and they’re generally very, very good,” UCSD head coach Denny Harper said. “We obviously had some good momentum still going from the previous day and we played great.”

    Senior driver Bryce Madsen and sophomore utility Brian Donohoe gave the team a strong start in the Sunday morning Pepperdine game, scoring two goals each for the Tritons. Although UCSD led 3-1 at halftime, the Pepperdine Waves made a comeback in the third quarter and scored five goals to bring the match to 6-5 in favor of the Waves at the end of the quarter.

    The final minute in regulation, the scoreboard showed the teams tied at 7-7.

    “Brian Donohoe got a huge goal that put us up by two with 51 seconds left,” Harper said. “After that, Pepperdine called a time out and it was just all about making sure that Pepperdine did not get a quick goal.”

    The Tritons were able to hold Pepperdine off in the final minutes of the match, and UCSD took the victory.

    “Pepperdine has some outstanding players and we just did a great job defensively,” Harper said. “We got some key goals and some key moments, and it was really, for the most part, a one-goal game the entire way.”

    The evening match with Loyola Marymount progressed in a similar manner, with a 3-3 tally at the end of the first quarter. Despite a 5-4 Triton lead entering halftime, the teams found themselves stuck in a 6-6 tie entering the fourth quarter.

    In an excellent show of defense, UCSD prevented Loyola from scoring the entire fourth quarter. Senior driver Ryan Allred brought the Tritons ahead, and his goal ended up being the game-winner.

    “The theme for the entire day was just playing outstanding defense,” Harper said. “Obviously it was a little concerning to start the tournament giving up 22 goals to Stanford on [Saturday], but we got our defense in check.”

    The SoCal Tournament, hosted by UCLA, featured some of the top programs in the nation.

    “It was more of a thrill and way more fun to play really close games with teams that were ranked higher,” junior goalie David Morton said. “It was very rewarding and made the game really fun.”

    Morton followed up his record-breaking 21 saves in the win over Concordia on Oct. 2 with six saves over Pepperdine and 12 saves over LMU.

    “It’s always important that we play really well as a team,” Harper said. “We’re generally not even nearly as big as a lot of the other teams — we’re actually relatively small compared to most of our opponents. That being said, obviously our goalie, David Morton, had a fantastic weekend.”

    The Tritons will return home this week to Canyonview Pool to take on No. 8 Long Beach State. The game will be on Friday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m., with the Tritons hoping to come out on top against the highly ranked 49ers.

    “We’ve won three in a row and we’re now going to play a very, very large and good Long Beach State team,” Harper said. “It’s going to be huge for us. You’re looking at a Long Beach team that only lost to Stanford by a goal, and so it’s going to be an opportunity for us to hopefully play a really, really good game in front of a really, really big crowd again.”

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