Huge Second Quarter Propels Pacific To Victory
The No. 7 Pacific men's water polo team picked up its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win of the season Friday, Nov. 2, edging ninth-ranked UC Irvine, 14-12. The win improved the Tigers' record to 10-7 (1-2 MPSF) on the year while the host Anteaters dropped to 14-9 (0-6 MPSF) with the loss.
"This was a huge team win," head coach James Graham said. "It is always tough to go to UC Irvine and get a win."
Junior Balazs Erdelyi put away three of his four of his goals in the Tigers' seven-score second quarter. Sophomore Alex Obert, playing in his first match since Oct. 5, also went for four scores, all of which came in the final two quarters. Freshman Aleksandar Petrovic added his third-career hat trick.
"It was great to see Alex Obert back in the lineup," Graham said. "He came back in great form and helped balance out the pool for our offense."
Junior goalkeeper Alex Malkis finished with 12 blocks in four quarters of work.
The match got off to a slow start as UC Irvine owned a 2-1 lead after the first quarter after Petrovic scored with one minute left. The second frame was different story, however, as Erdelyi and Petrovic gave the Tigers an early 3-2 lead with the first two goals of the period. After the Anteaters responded with a goal on their next possession, junior Kevin Oliveira put away a power-play goal to give Pacific a 4-3 lead midway through the quarter.
The Tigers' lead would be short-lived as the hosts found the back of the cage in consecutive possessions to regain a one-goal lead at the 2:18 mark. Junior Andres Oneto tied the match for Pacific before Erdelyi's second goal of the frame put the Tigers back on top, 6-5, with 1:23 left to play. After UCI again tied the match, Petrovic scored with 47 seconds on the clock, giving Pacific a 7-6 lead. Erdelyi tacked on his fourth score of the quarter with just five seconds remaining, spotting the Tigers a two-goal lead heading into intermission.
Erdelyi put away Pacific's first goal of the third quarter before Obert found the back of the cage for the first time at the 5:49 mark, giving the Tigers their largest lead of the game. It would be the first of three goals in the period for Obert as Pacific had answer for each UCI comeback. His last goal game with 42 ticks left, spotting the Tigers a 12-9 lead with one quarter left to play.
UC Irvine opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, pulling the Anteaters back to within two. Obert had the answer for Pacific, netting his fourth goal of the second half on an advantage play with 4:24 left on the clock. The hosts would pull to within two a second time one minute later, but sophomore Sean Grady sealed the win for the Tigers with a natural goal at the 2:47 mark. A late UCI goal resulted in the final margin.
UC Irvine's Mitch Wise led all scorers with six goals while Blake Terry added three scores. Goalkeepers Alex Kazmier and Michael Bailey split time in the cage as each finished with five saves.
Pacific continues its road swing this Sunday, Nov. 4, with a noon league contest at Long Beach State.
No. 7 Pacific 14, No. 9 UC Irvine 12
Pacific 1 - 7 - 4 - 2 -- 14
UC Irvine 2 - 4 - 3 - 3 -- 12
Pacific - Erdelyi 4, Obert 4, Petrovic 3, Grady, Oliveira, Oneto
UC Irvine - Wise 6, Terry 3, Carballo, Mourer, Pfeil
Pacific - Malkis 12
UC Irvine - Bailey 5, Kazmier 5