Road Contests at UC Irvine, Long Beach State Await Men's Water Polo
The Pacific men's water polo team continues its road swing in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with a pair of contests this weekend. The Tigers open the weekend at UC Irvine Friday, Nov. 2, before wrapping up play at Long Beach State Sunday, Nov. 4. Friday's match is set for 7 p.m. while Sunday's contest will get underway at noon.
Pacific (9-7, 0-2 MPSF) will look to get its first win in league play this season after dropping its first two contests to Pepperdine and top-ranked USC. The Tigers are coming off of a tough match against the undefeated Trojans last Saturday that saw USC defeat Pacific, 16-6. Junior Balazs Erdelyi found the back of the cage three times for his 13th multi-goal game of the year while junior Kevin Oliveira added a pair of scores. Junior goalkeeper Alex Malkis registered nine blocks, snapping a streak of seven consecutive outings with at least 10 saves.
Erdelyi has had a stellar junior season for Pacific as he leads the league with a 3.80 goals-per-game average. His 57 goals on the year are tied for tops in the conference despite playing five fewer games than co-leader Nikola Vavic of USC. He exploded for a career-best nine goals against Santa Clara on Oct. 12 and has eight games of at least four scores.
UC Irvine (14-7, 0-4 MPSF) is winless in conference play, but has had success against the Tigers in recent years, winning five of the last six match-ups. The two squads have already met once this season as the Anteaters defeated Pacific, 11-10, at the NorCal Tournament back in September. The Tigers trailed by five at halftime before pulling to within one twice late in the fourth quarter. Erdelyi led all scorers with six goals while Malkis registered 13 blocks.
Long Beach State (19-5, 1-2 MPSF) is coming off of a big win over then-No. 5 California last weekend, earning its first win against the Golden Bears since 2001. The 49ers and Tigers are already familiar with each other, having squared off at the SoCal Tournament earlier this season. Pacific emerged victorious, 11-10, in a match that saw the Tigers never trail despite a furious rally from LBSU in the fourth frame. Erdelyi put away four goals for Pacific while Malkis saved 14 shots, including a late penalty attempt from the 49ers.