Water Polo Team Earns MPSF Bid
Tom Koning knew it was his final home match as a Tiger. He made sure it was a memorable one.
Koning's five goals propelled the Pacific men's water polo team to an 11-6 victory over No. 8 Long Beach State Saturday, November 19, earning a spot in next week's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament in the process.
"I was definitely thinking about it being my last game here at Pacific," said Koning after the match. "I wanted to leave here on a good note."
The first quarter saw both teams come out firing as sophomore Balazs Erdelyi got the Tigers on the board first with a goal at the 5:33 mark. Long Beach State would respond with a goal of its own before Pacific ripped off two consecutive goals, the first on a penalty shot from senior Danie Lungu folloed by the first of Koning's five scores.
Long Beach State sophomore Nick Rascon stopped the Tigers' run with a power-play goal at the 1:12 mark, tying the match at 3-3, but Koning netted again with 54 seconds left to give Pacific a 4-3 lead after eight minutes of play.
Koning scored his third straight goal early in the second quarter before finding the back of the cage a fourth straight time, this time on a six-on-five situation, giving Pacific a 6-3 lead. The visitors would tally their lone goal of the frame with just 24 seconds left, cutting the Tigers' advantage to two at the break.
The 6-2 attacker from Poway, Calif., would not be stopped, however, as he again opened the scoring for the Tigers, notching his fifth goal at the 6:36 mark of the third quarter to put Pacific up 7-4. Midway through the third frame, Erdelyi netted his second goal of the match, and 30 seconds later, senior Lance Morrison found the back of the cage to give the Tigers a comfortable 9-4 advantage with eight minutes left.
Pacific would ice the match with a goal from junior Goran Tomasevic at the 6:14 mark of the fourth quarter, followed by Lungu's second goal that came with 5:33 left, spotting the Tigers an 11-4 lead. The 49ers would score twice more but Pacific's seven-goal advantage proved too much to overcome.
"It was a great game for us, especially defensively," Pacific head coach James Graham said. "All of our guys played really hard and played for each other. We showed a lot of maturity."
The win broke a streak of four straight matches that came down to a single goal. It was the Tigers' first win by more than one goal since October 30, when they defeated Santa Clara 11-5.
Long Beach State was paced by Rascon's two scores. Junior Matthew Kubeck notched six saves for the 49ers in a complete-game effort.
Pacific will now begin preparation for the MPSF Tournament that begins Friday, November 25. The three-day tournament, hosted by UCLA, will see the Tigers open play against top-seeded No. 1 USC at 10 a.m. that Friday. Fans can watch the match live by visiting the tournament's website.
Score by Quarter
Long Beach State - 3-1-0-2 -- 6
Pacific - 4-2-3-2 -- 11
Long Beach State - Rascon 2, Fabian, Leach, Matulis, Schiefer
Pacific - Koning 5, Erdelyi 2, Lungu 2, Morrison, Tomasevic
Long Beach State - Kubeck 6
Pacific - Malkis 14, Frantz 2