Pacific Men's Waterpolo: Joey Gullikson Named Player Of The Week By NCAA.com
Following a five goal performance in Pacific's 10-9 upset over No. 3 Stanford, senior Joey Gullikson (Sonoma, Calif.) was named NCAA.com's men's water polo player of the week.
Each week Trevor Freeman writes a weekly column on NCAA.com featuring the latest news in mens water polo. An excerpt of this week's column featuring the Pacific Tigers is available below. Freeman's column in its entirety is available on the front page of NCAA.com in addition to the men's water polo page.
Down 8-7 entering the fourth quarter, top-ranked California needed a rally to escape Stockton with a win over sixth-ranked Pacific. They got it. Cal's defense tightened up and Zach Greenwood scored two key fourth-quarter goals to help California avoid Pacific's upset bid. With the 10-8 victory, California moved to 20-2 on the season and 7-0 in MPSF play with only one regular season match left against third-ranked Stanford.
After losing a Saturday heartbreaker, sixth-ranked Pacific finally did what many felt was inevitable. They stunned a top three team. Pacific travelled to Stanford on Sunday and took down the third-ranked Cardinal behind five goals from senior Joey Gullikson. This victory moved Pacific to 15-9 overall and 3-4 in MPSF play. It also cements Pacific's status as the team most likely to ruin somebody's NCAA hopes in the first round of the MPSF Tournament. Stanford's loss drops them to 13-6 overall and 5-2 in MPSF play. The Cardinal are tied with USC for third place in the MPSF race with both teams being a half game behind fourth-ranked UCLA as the Bruins concluded their regular season with a 6-2 conference record.
Player of the Week
Joey Gullikson, Pacific, Sr.: Pacific's win over Stanford was their first since 2006 and is the biggest in James Graham's tenure as Head Coach of the Tigers. It is fitting that this victory was led by five goals from Joey Gullikson who was one of James Graham's first recruits. The Sonoma, CA native played for Graham at Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated with his coach to the NCAA level. James Graham's teams will emerge victorious in many more big games, however I think he would even admit that Gullikson leading his first added icing to the cake.
"I couldn't be prouder of both Joey and the team," stated head coach James Graham. "This honor is well deserved as well as the victory."
Gullikson and Pacific's men's water polo team travels to Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday, November 20 to take on Long Beach State at 12 p.m.