Water Polo Suffers Narrow Defeat to No. 8 Long Beach St.

    John Hanacek / Guardian

    The men’s water polo team took a hit with a loss to No. 8 Long Beach State on Friday, dropping a close match 6-5. The 49ers took an early one-goal lead two minutes into the game, and never trailed to take the victory.

    Sophomore utility Brian Donohoe scored two goals, junior goalie David Morton had nine saves and the Tritons rallied late, but it was not enough to give the No. 9 Tritons the victory.

    “It was a big opportunity for us to move up in rankings,” Donohoe said. “They are a physical team and we came out and let them push us around a little bit; [it] took us a while to get adjusted. We made some mistakes and didn’t really capitalize on our opportunities.”

    LBSU’s Patrick van der Linde put the first goal on the scoreboard with a shot to the upper left corner just within the goal. Following a tense rally, UCSD’s senior driver Ryan Allred evened up the score just before the close of the first quarter as the 49ers recovered from an ejection.

    The second quarter opened with the 49ers quickly breaking the tie, as Morton stopped a fast shot by van der Linde at the line, only to see it bounce into the goal.

    Donohoe found the back of the net with a long shot that brought the teams to a tie once again, but LBSU pushed back 19 seconds later; Carter Taylor got in a close shot that closed the third quarter with the scoreboard showing 3-2 in favor of the 49ers.

    “We just missed too many shots,” UCSD senior driver Bryce Madsen said. “We just didn’t swim hard enough to get them tired, that was the biggest issue.”

    The second half of the game progressed with the Tritons still playing catch-up to the 49ers. The third quarter saw another goal by LBSU’s Taylor, followed by a score by UCSD’s sophomore utility John Butler with barely 2 minutes on the clock.

    “[It was] frustrating to get that momentum and then be killed,” Madsen said.

    The 49ers came into the fourth quarter determined to break away from the one-goal difference, and Alexsandr Petrovic and Nick Rascon each scored within a minute to bring the score to 6-3.

    “[At] the beginning of the fourth quarter, they came out and scored two quick goals off of kind of iffy turnovers — iffy calls on the offensive end for us — but that put us down 6-3,” Donohoe said. “It was such a low scoring game, it put us in a bad position.”

    The Tritons were able to rally, and with 1:29 left in the game, Donohoe scored another goal for the Tritons to bring the score to 6-5. Despite regaining possession with 45 seconds to go thanks to a sound stop by Morton, an offensive turnover marked the loss of the ball and the end of the competition.

    “We scored a couple, we gave ourselves a chance, but in the end it was just too little, too late,” Donohoe said.

    Donohoe emphasized that the 49ers’ game plan forced the Tritons to get away from their usual strategy.

    “I think the biggest thing is that they [Cal State Long Beach] play a very static style of game — not much movement,” Donohoe said. “They rely on being stronger than other teams and what we should have done is a lot more swimming and movement. But we played into their style, which isn’t best suited for us.”

    The Tritons will soon face UC Davis and Santa Clara University in away games next weekend. Donohoe said the team hopes to get back to the tactics that propelled them to big wins last weekend.

    “At the SoCal tournament, we had some big, big wins over LMU and Pepperdine,” Donohoe said. “The reason we got those wins is we were swimming and counter-attacking better than we had all season. We kind of took a step back against Long Beach in that area, so we’re just going to try to get back to that high tempo, counter-attacking, opportunistic type of offense.”

    The team will be back at Canyonview Pool Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. to play Loyola Marymount University.

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