The No. 12 UC San Diego men’s water polo team wrapped up the 2017 regular season on the road against No. 6 UC Irvine Wednesday night at Anteater Aquatics Complex in Irvine, CA.
The Tritons were looking for their first victory over the Anteaters, having been defeated in two other matches earlier in September. Having cut the difference to five goals in their last meeting, the Tritons fell again in a non-conference game to a tough Irvine squad 4–11.
With the result, UCSD finished 9–13 overall, yet a strong 6–1 in conference play.
UC Irvine jumped ahead with the first sound of the referee’s whistle. Shutting out the Tritons in the first 10 minutes, the Anteaters were responsible for the first four goals of the game.
Freshman attacker Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt stopped the bleeding temporarily and executed on a 6-on-5 power-play with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter. The Newport Beach phenom has contributed a striking 47 goals during his freshman campaign, the second highest on the team. He also tallied another steal for a total of 29 this year.
UC Irvine scored three more times before Cooper Milton, sophomore utility, found a way around the reach of Matej Matijevic, Anteater goalkeeper, seconds before halftime.
UCSD only capitalized on two out of 10 power-play opportunities, recording 11 exclusions of its own on the night and allowing multiple advantages for UC Irvine. That said, the Anteaters led in shots 29–24.
Late goals from redshirt sophomore utility Luka Vasiljevic and junior utility Collin Sullivan fortunately limited the deficit to seven. Junior goalkeeper Sam Thompson collected 16 saves while Skyler Munatones, sophomore utility, pitched in two steals.
UCSD is set to host the Western Water Polo Association Tournament next weekend from Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 19. The second-seed Tritons will face Santa Clara in the first round at 12:45 p.m., a team they beat 13-9 just two weeks ago.