Erdelyi, Petrovic Propel Pacific Past UC Santa Barbara
Junior Balazs Erdelyi and freshman Aleksandar Petrovic scored four goals apiece to power the Pacific men's water polo team past visiting UC Santa Barbara, 12-5, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation counter Saturday, Nov. 10. The Tigers improved to 12-7 (3-2 MPSF) with the win while the loss dropped the Gauchos to 15-8 (1-5 MPSF) on the year.
"Today was a huge win for us in conference play," head coach James Graham said. "It puts us in a position to get a good opening-round game at the MPSF Tournament, and I feel like we are really coming together and hitting our stride at the right time."
Fresh off of earning the conference's weekly honor, Erdelyi collected his 15th multi-goal game of the year and third straight four-goal outing. Petrovic's four scores tied his career high that he set in the Tigers' sudden-victory win over Long Beach State last weekend.
Junior Kevin Oliveira and sophomore Alex Obert added a pair of scores for Pacific. Junior goalkeeper Alex Malkis recorded 15 blocks in four quarters of work, including a five-save fourth quarter that kept UCSB from mounting a comeback.
"It was a phenomenal team effort today," Graham continued. "Everyone played great, especially Aleksandar Petrovic and Alex Malkis. Balazs continued to do what he has been doing, and we're really excited to get back in the pool tomorrow."
The match started slow as the Tigers led just 2-1 after the first quarter behind goals from Erdelyi and Oliveira. The second frame was a different story, however, as Pacific rallied off six goals in the period, including the last five. Obert opened the scoring, converting a power play at the 7:01 mark before Petrovic put Pacific up 4-1 with 6:23 on the clock. After a Gaucho goal with 5:24 left in the period, the Tigers proceeded to go on a 5-0 run, propelling them to an 8-2 lead at the half. Petrovic tallied the last two scores of the run, giving him a hat trick in the second quarter alone.
Erdelyi extended Pacific's lead to seven, 9-2, early in the third quarter, but the visitors answered with back-to-back scores to pull to within five with 4:38 on the clock. UC Santa Barbara's defense could not find an answer for the Tigers as Erdelyi and Petrovic finished the quarter with goals to give Pacific an 11-4 advantage with eight minutes left to play.
The visitors seemed determined to make a comeback, scoring just 17 seconds into the fourth quarter. It would be their only goal of the frame, however, as Obert scored with 39 seconds left to seal the win for Pacific.
UC Santa Barbara was paced by Eric Van de Mortel's two goals. Goalkeeper Myles Christian blocked 10 shots before being replaced midway though the fourth quarter.
The Tigers conclude the weekend with a home contest against second-ranked UCLA tomorrow, Nov. 11. The match is set to begin at noon.
No. 7 Pacific 12, No. 4 UC Santa Barbara 5
UC Santa Barbara 1 - 1 - 2 - 1 -- 5
Pacific 2 - 6 - 3 - 1 -- 12
Pacific - Erdelyi 4, Petrovic 4, Obert 2, Oliveira 2
UC Santa Barbara - Van de Mortel 2, D. Baliani, Dellinger, McElroy
Pacific - Malkis 15
UC Santa Barbara - Christian 10, Whitlegge 2