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The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

Brendon Fezzey Shines Bright in Tritons’ 4th Quarter Comeback vs. UC Davis

Brendon+Fezzey+Shines+Bright+in+Tritons%E2%80%99+4th+Quarter+Comeback+vs.+UC+Davis
Image by Millie Root for The UCSD Guardian

UC San Diego men’s water polo (13–12, 2–2 Big West) hosted UC Davis (15–8, 3–1 Big West) on Saturday in their second head-to-head matchup this season. Both teams came into Saturday’s game on two-game losing streaks, but it was the Tritons who would prove victorious in the end, despite a two-goal deficit in the fourth quarter.

 

The Tritons opened the first quarter sharp on defense, recording two steals and an acrobatic save on Davis’ first three possessions. After a blocked shot, the Tritons turned defense into offense, and junior attacker Lucas Romaguera scored the first goal of the game. UC Davis quickly responded and tied the game 1–1. However, the Tritons closed the first quarter strong. Junior utility Eoman Hennessey scored a fall-away, skip shot and freshman attacker Landon Akertsrom slotted the Tritons’ third goal on a 5-meter penalty shot. The Tritons led 3–1 at the end of the first.

 

In the second quarter, UC Davis woke up and the Tritons lost their defensive prowess. UC Davis scored three straight goals, but sophomore defender Brendon Fezzey stopped the bleeding momentarily with his first goal of the game. The Aggies then scored two more consecutive goals, pushing their lead to 6–4. UC Davis scored five goals on six shots to open the second quarter, while the Tritons shot one for five. Just before the half, however, UCSD’s sophomore center Bennett Axline scored a much needed goal to cut the Aggies’ lead. Despite a lackluster, sloppy second quarter, the Tritons went into halftime only trailing by one.

 

Axline started the third quarter just as he ended the second, finishing his second goal of the game to bring the Tritons even at 6–6. The third quarter would feature a myriad of six-on-five opportunities for both teams. The Aggies converted seemingly every time, while the Tritons could not find the back of the net. UC Davis scored on both of their six-on-five opportunities in the third, while the Tritons did not convert at all. UCSD had two six-on-five opportunities and one five-on-four opportunity, but the stout Aggie defense did not budge. However, towards the end of the quarter, the last-minute specialist Tritons drew their second 5-meter of the game. Attacker Kaden Likins took the penalty shot and scored, cutting UC Davis’ lead to 8–7.

 

And then, Brendon Fezzey happened.

 

Fezzey opened the fourth quarter with an equalizer goal. The Aggies then blindsided the Tritons, scoring two goals to extend their lead to 10–8. The Tritons responded with their third goal by way of the 5-meter penalty, this time scored by Lucas Romaguera for his second of the game. With 2:29 left in regulation, Fezzey tied the game 10–10 to begin what was soon to be the Brendon Fezzey legacy game. Then, after three straight stops by the UCSD defense, including a desperately needed six-on-five stop, the Tritons forced an exclusion on UC Davis.

 

After a UCSD timeout to presumably draw-up the game-winner, the Tritons’ offense scrambled and went off-script. Suddenly, the ball ricocheted into the middle of the offense to Fezzey, who, surrounded by defenders, punched the ball past the goalie and into the back of the net — the go-ahead goal with only 28 seconds left. Fezzey’s third goal of the quarter and fourth of the game would hold up as the game-winner, as the Tritons’ defense got a fourth consecutive stop to fend off the Aggies in an 11–10 victory.

 

After the game, Triton assistant coach Arman Momdzhyan spoke to The UCSD Guardian about the team’s defense at the end of the game.

 

“I mean, we ended the game on a defensive stop, so that goes to show you the mindset of our team,” he said. “Going into each matchup, honestly, if it came down to an offensive play, it would have been a little less stressful because we have a lot of firepower, but defensively we’ve really honed in this week in training.”

 

In regards to the Tritons’ defensive struggles in the second quarter, Momdzhyan said, “You know, you weather the storm. We play a game of momentum, so it’s often one team comes off the gates and the other team comes back. As soon as someone is on a run, it’s [about] how you can stay composed and remember the game plan and understand that you can execute on the other end while they are doing the same to you.”

 

Momdzhyan agreed that there may have been some additional motivation going into the game, especially considering the Tritons’ loss to UC Davis earlier this year.

 

“There is always extra motivation in a rivalry game,” he said. “We followed the Aggies from the WWPA to the Big West, so we can’t seem to get enough of each other and it’s always a good game for our fans.”

 

The Tritons move to 14–12 overall and 3–2 in the Big West. UCSD will take on Biola University (18–11) at home on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., whom they dismantled 17–4 earlier this season at the Triton Invitational.

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About the Contributors
Wyatt Bose
Wyatt Bose, Staff Writer
Wyatt is a first-year political science student, an ardent sports-watcher, an impassioned Philadelphia sports fan, and the founder of his sports blog, "The Cogent Column."
Millie Root
Millie Root, Photo Editor
Millie loves the way light reflects off bus windows, artisenal teas, and community co-ops. Join Millie on the journey of a lifetime to tell important stories with amazing photographs.
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