Water Polo Done In By Late Goal
California sophomore Collin Smith scored the game-winning goal with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter as the No. 7 Pacific men's water polo team fell to the No. 3 Golden Bears 9-8 Friday, November 11, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match at the Spieker Aquatics Center.
It was the Tiger's third consecutive match decided by one goal. Pacific (11-10, 1-5 MPSF) has played in nine one-goal matches this season.
The Tigers looked the part of spoiler early, taking a 4-1 advantage midway through the second quarter behind three straight goals from senior Lance Morrison, sophomore Balazs Erdelyi, and senior Tom Koning. For Erdelyi, the goal extended his scoring streak to 19 straight matches.
California responded with a run of its own, reeling off five consecutive goals to take a 6-4 lead. Just as it seemed the hosts had gained all of the momentum, Pacific answered with another 3-0 run to reclaim the lead. The Golden Bears managed to knot the game at 7-7 with just 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
Reigning National Player of the Year Ivan Rackov scored for California early in the fourth to give the hosts an 8-7 lead. After the Tigers managed to draw an ejection, Erdelyi finished the power play with 4:27 left to tie the game at 8-8.
After both teams missed on scoring opportunities, Smith came through for the Golden Bears from eight meters out. Pacific had a pair of turnovers down the stretch, including one with 11 seconds left as California's defense held for the win.
Erdelyi and Koning accounted for two goals apiece. Morrison, junior Balazs Szabo, freshman Alex Obert, and senior Danie Lungu also scored for the Tigers.
Pacific returns home to Kjeldsen Pool Sunday, November 13, for a noon match with No. 1 USC.