Erdelyi Nets Game-Winner Over Long Beach State In Sudden Victory
Junior Balazs Erdelyi scored the game-winner late in the second sudden victory period, propelling the Pacific men's water polo team to a 14-13 win over host Long Beach State Sunday, Nov. 4. The Tigers improved to 11-7 and 2-2 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with the win while the 49ers dropped to 19-7 and 1-4 in league play.
"This was one of the most exciting games we've played this season," head coach James Graham said. "This team showed great heart and character today. Winning at Long Beach is never easy, but the determination of this group was undeniable today."
Both Erdelyi and freshman Aleksandar Petrovic finished the day with four goals. Junior Kevin Oliveira added three scores for the Tigers. Junior goalkeeper Alex Malkis blocked 12 shots in a complete game effort.
Petrovic got Pacific on the board just 16 seconds into the contest, but LBSU answered on its ensuing possession to tie the game at 1-1. Oliveira gave the Tigers back the lead at the 6:58 mark, but the hosts converted a penalty shot and a natural goal to take a 3-2 lead with 4:53 left. Consecutive goals from freshman Casey Fleming and Erdelyi, the latter coming with just one minute on the clock, put Pacific on top, 4-3, but the 49ers finished a power play with 23 seconds remaining to tie things at 4-4 at the end of the first quarter.
The hosts netted the first goal of the second quarter, taking a 5-4 lead at the 5:57 mark. Oliveira got his second score of the day on a power play midway through the frame to tie the match, but Long Beach State responded with a goal of its own to retake the lead. Sophomore Sean Grady would end the Tigers' near-four minute scoring drought late in the frame, sending the match into halftime tied at 6-6.
Sophomore Alex Obert gave Pacific its first lead since late in the opening quarter after scoring off the post on a power play to open the third frame. Erdelyi extended the Tigers' advantage to two, 8-6, at the 5:50 mark, putting a direct shot into the high corner of the cage. The 49ers answered with two quick goals, the last of which coming with 4:49 remaining, to tie the game at 8-8. The scores would prove to be the last two goals of the quarter as the match remained tied heading into the final frame.
The two squads traded goals to open the fourth quarter as Petrovic finished for the Tigers. Petrovic gave the Tigers a 10-9 lead at the 4:54 mark, but the hosts again tied the game two minutes later. After a 49ers' shot went high over the cage, Pacific called timeout with 52 seconds left, but would come up empty on its ensuing possession. LBSU took its final timeout with 19 ticks remaining, but the Tigers' defense held strong to force overtime.
Pacific got the first goal in overtime as Erdelyi put away his third score of the match at the 1:49 mark of the first OT period. The 49ers responded 20 seconds later, tying the match for the tenth time, before taking the lead with 57 seconds left. Oliveira had the answer for the Tigers, scoring late in the first OT period to tie the match at 12-12.
Petrovic gave Pacific a 13-12 lead at the 1:43 mark of the second overtime frame, but the hosts would find the back of the cage on its next opportunity to knot things up at 13-13. Neither team would score again the rest of the way, sending the game into a sudden victory period.
Both squads tightened up their defense in the opening sudden victory period as neither team found the back of the cage. The second sudden victory period saw both teams fail to score on their first opportunities. After a Long Beach State shot sailed high over the cage, Erdelyi managed to draw a foul and would finish the subsequent shot attempt, securing the win for Pacific.
Four players tallied a pair of scores for Long Beach State. 49er goalkeeper Balint Meszaros finished with 9 saves.
Pacific returns home for a pair of conference counters next weekend, taking on UC Santa Barbara Saturday, Nov. 10, before facing UCLA the following Sunday. Both matches are set to begin at noon.
No. 7 Pacific 14, No. 7 Long Beach State 13 (SDOT)
Pacific 4 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 0 - 1 -- 14
Long Beach State 4 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 0 - 0 -- 13
Pacific - Erdelyi 4, Petrovic 4, Oliveira 3, Fleming, Grady, Obert
Long Beach State - Matulis 2, Taylor 2, Vrzic 2, White 2, Cleland, Kappos, Lappas, Na. McConnell, Mefford
Pacific - Malkis 12
Long Beach State - Meszaros 9