No. 3 Pacific Men's Water Polo Opens SoCal Against Santa Clara Saturday
UC Irvine Tournament Central
The No. 3 Pacific Men's Water Polo team faces off with No. 15 Santa Clara for the third time as the SoCal Tournament opens Saturday in Irvine, Calif. The Tigers and Broncos meet at the Corona del Mar High School pool at 10:50 a.m. in the tournament newly re-branded as the UC Irvine Invitational.
The third-seeded Tigers and 14-seed Broncos advances to face either No. 6 seed UC Santa Barbara and No. 11 seed Concordia in the quarterfinals (4:50) or consolation round (6:15) on Saturday afternoon.
Pacific and Santa Clara have already squared off twice, including the opening round of the NorCal tournament on September 21, with the Tigers taking a decisive 21-9 win. The Tigers also posted a 19-7 win over Santa Clara in the season opener at Kjeldsen Pool on September 7.
The Tigers also faced UC Santa Barbara earlier this season, taking a 8-7 win in the fifth-place game of the NorCal tournament.
Senior Balazs Erdelyi has racked up 10 goals in two games against the Broncos while seniors Goran Tomasevic and Andres Oneto, as well as junior Alex Obert have each tallied four goals. Tomasevic' four all came in the NorCal opener, as he missed the season opening game against Santa Clara.
Erdelyi has paced Pacific with 39 goals in 11 games this season, while Tomasevic has added 34 goals in 10 games. The Tigers also have four other players averaging at least a goal per game. Obert (20 goals), senior Kevin Oliveira (17), sophomores Kristian Laczkovics (13), Casey Fleming (11) and Aleksandar Petrovic (11 goals in 10 games).
Between the pipes, senior Alex Malkis has carried the Tigers to wins over Cal and Stanford the last two weekends. Malkis has earned MPSF Player of the Week honors the last two weeks, turning in 29 saves in two games. He shut out No. 4 Cal for the final 14 minutes in last Saturday's 7-6 win over the Bears in Berkeley.
No. 1 UCLA enters the SoCal Tournament as the top seed in the draw, but is on the opposite side of the bracket from Pacific. No. 2 USC is the top ranked squad on Pacific's side of the draw.
SoCal Tournament Saturday Schedule/Bracket
(1) UCLA vs (16) Pomona Pitzer - 8:00a UCI
(2) USC vs (15) St. Francis - 8:00a CdM
(7) Long Beach St vs (10) Loyola Marymount - 9:25a CdM
(8) Pepperdine vs (9) UC Irvine - 9:25a UCI
(3) Pacific vs (14) Santa Clara - 10:50a CdM
(4) Stanford vs (13) UC Davis - 10:50a UCI
(5) Cal vs (12) UC San Diego - 12:15p UCI
(6) UC Santa Barbara vs (11) Concordia - 12:15 CdM
1/16 winner vs 8/9 winner - 2:00p UCI
2/15 winner vs 7/10 winner - 2:00p CdM
3/14 winner vs 6/11 winner - 4:50 CdM
4/13 winner vs 5/12 winner - 4:50 UCI
SECOND ROUND CONSOLATION
1/16 loser vs 8/9 loser - 3:25p UCI
2/15 loser vs 7/10 loser - 3:25p CdM
3/14 loser vs 6/11 loser - 6:15 CdM
4/13 loser vs 5/12 loser - 6:15 UCI