Tigers Take Eighth At NorCal Tournament
The Pacific men's water polo claimed eighth place at this year's NorCal Tournament at Stanford, dropping a pair of close contests Sunday, Sept. 16. The Tigers could not complete the comeback versus No. 6 UC Irvine in its early game, falling 11-10, before dropping the seventh-place match to No. 8 Pepperdine, 11-7.
Pacific now sits at 1-3 on the year. Junior Balazs Erdelyi led the Tigers with seven goals on the day, six of which came against UC Irvine, a new career high. Sophomore Alex Obert registered five scores. Junior goalkeeper Alex Malkis tallied 21 blocks on the day, including a season-high 13 against UC Irvine.
Pacific got off to a slow start in its first game against No. 6 UC Irvine, falling behind 4-1 in the first quarter. Junior Kevin Oliveira notched the Tigers' lone goal of the frame, converting an advantage opportunity to get Pacific on the board. The Anteaters would continue their defense dominance in the second period, keeping the Tigers scoreless while adding a pair of goals to take a 6-1 lead into halftime.
UCI notched the first goal of the third quarter, but Pacific came alive after Erdelyi scored back-to-back goals to cut the Anteaters' lead to four at 7-3 with 4:20 on the clock. Obert tallied the Tigers' third consecutive goal, forcing UC Irvine to call a timeout with a little more than three minutes remaining in the frame.
The Anteaters scored on a six-on-five chance out of the timeout, but Erdelyi was not finished as he put away two more goals to pull the Tigers to within two at 8-6. UCI would score a late goal to take a 9-6 advantage into the final period.
Freshman Aleksandar Petrovic scored on a power play early in the fourth, but UC Irvine answered to go back up by three midway through the quarter. Erdelyi continued his onslaught with consecutive scores to pull Pacific to within one, 10-9, with two minutes left. After the Anteaters responded with a goal of their own, Obert put away a two-meter goal on Pacific's ensuing possession to make it a one-goal game with 1:17 left.
The Tigers came up with a huge defensive stop on UCI's next possession, leading head coach James Graham to call timeout with 34 seconds left. On its final possession of the game, Pacific looked to the red-hot Erdelyi, who was double-teamed, leaving Oliveira open on the weak side. After drawing a foul, Oliveira fired a shot at the cage that rebounded off the bar and out of bounds, allowing UC Irvine to escape the Tigers' furious rally.
Erdelyi set a career high with six goals while Obert added a pair of scores. Malkis blocked a season-high 13 shots in four quarters of work.
UC Irvine got a hat trick from Winston Newland, while goalkeeper Alex Kazmier recorded seven saves.
Pacific got off to a stronger start in the seventh-place match versus No. 8 Pepperdine. Petrovic got the Tigers on the board first early in the first quarter on a goal from the outside. After the Waves put away their first goal, Erdelyi and Obert spotted Pacific a 3-1 lead with 2:30 left in the frame. Pepperdine responded with another score, but Obert's subsequent shot rebounded off of a Pepperdine player into the cage, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead after the first eight minutes.
Things slowed down in the second period, with Pepperdine scoring its lone goal of the frame early in the going. Obert notched his second hat trick of the weekend on a backhand shot with one minute remaining, putting Pacific up 5-3 at the break.
Oliveira opened the third quarter with a goal from the win to give the Tigers their largest lead of the match at 6-3. Pepperdine would not go away, however, as the Waves answered with two goals to pull to within one midway through the period. Freshman Casey Fleming broke up Pepperdine's quick run with a lob goal, but the Waves kept up the pressure, tying the match at 7-7 with one quarter left to play.
Pepperdine took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter, and would not stop there as the Waves tallied two more goals to go up 10-7 with 4:56 left to play. The Tigers' offense sputtered in the final period as Pepperdine would score an insurance goal late to seal the win.
Obert paced the Tigers with three goals, his second hat trick of the weekend. Malkis ended the match with eight saves.
The Waves were led by Stephen Loomis's four goals. Goalkeeper Bence Valics blocked 15 shots.
Pacific is back in action next weekend as it travels up I-5 for the Aggie Shootout at UC Davis. The Tigers open play with Redlands on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 9:10 am.
No. 6 UC Irvine 11, No. 7 Pacific 10
Pacific 1 - 0 - 5 - 4 -- 10
UC Irvine 4 - 2 - 3 - 2 -- 11
Pacific - Erdelyi 6, Obert 2, Oliveira, Petrovic
UC Irvine - Newland 3, Wise 2, Carballo, Hrlec, N. Pfeil, Pickford, Robertson, Swieca
Pacific - Malkis 13
UC Irvine - Kazmier 7
No. 8 Pepperdine 11, No. 7 Pacific 7
Pacific 4 - 1 - 2 - 0 -- 7
Peppedine 2 - 1 - 4 - 4 -- 11
Pacific - Obert 3, Erdelyi, Fleming, Oliveira, Petrovic
Pepperdine - Loomis 4, Perry 2, Brown, Cooper, DeTrane, McIntyre, Tice
Pacific - Malkis 8
Pepperdine - Valics 15