No. 5 Pacific Men's Water Polo Cruises Over No. 18 Santa Clara, 19-7
Senior Balazs Erdelyi tallied seven goals as No. 5 Pacific cruised to a 19-7 win over No. 18 Santa Clara in the men's water polo season opener Saturday at Chris Kjeldsen Pool.
Sophomore Kristian Laczkovics and junior Alex Obert each added three goals while senior Alex Malkis made 13 saves in net. Redshirt senior Balazs Szabo picked up two goals, while junior Sean Grady, redshirt sophomore Casey Fleming and freshman Ben Stevenson each scored once.
"I thought it was a great first game for us," head coach James Graham said. "I thought offensively, we showed how many weapons we have. Defensively, I thought we played strong, holding a good Santa Clara team to seven goals. We were impressed with some of the new guys coming in and contributing and also so players in new roles this season. It was a good first step, and we learned a lot from it."
The reigning national player of the year started his senior season where he left off in his junior campaign as Erdelyi, the 2012 Peter J. Cutino Award winner, posted three goals in the first quarter. He opened the scoring at the 4:40 mark, but Santa Clara quickly struck back with a goal from Casidhe McClone just 25 seconds later.
Alex Obert answered right back with a goal at the 3:59 mark, and Erdelyi tallied again with 2:10 to go in the quarter to put Pacific up, 3-1. Theo Nasser pulled Santa Clara within one, before Sean Grady gave Pacific a 4-2 lead and Erdelyi beat the quarter buzzer to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead at the end of one.
Obert scored the first two goals of the second quarter to stretch the lead to 7-2, and Stevenson's first career goal put Pacific on top 8-3. Laczkovics picked up his first goal for Pacific for a 9-5 margin before Erdelyi capped the first half and gave the Tigers a 10-5 lead at the break.
Pacific locked down its defense in the second half, shutting out Santa Clara in the third quarter. Goals by Olivera, Flemming and a pair from Erdelyi gave the Tigers a 15-5 lead after three, and the Tigers coasted home as Laczkovics tallied twice, and Erdelyi and Szabo each found the back of the net.
Pacific improves to 1-0 on the year, while Santa Clara falls to 0-1.
The Tigers are back in action next weekend at Brown for the Bruno Fall Invitational. Pacific opens the tournament against MIT on Saturday at 6:15 am (PT), and a 11:30 am match against Saint Francis (PA). The Tigers will also meet Navy on Sunday at 5:30 am (PT) and Brown at 9:15 am on Sunday.
Pacific 19, Santa Clara 7
PACIFIC: Balazs Erdelyi 7, Kristian Laczkovics 3, Alex Obert 3, Balazs Szabo 2, Sean Grady 1, Casey Fleming 1, Ben Stevenson 1
SANTA CLARA: Theo Nasser 2, Casidhe McClone 2, Stephen Bilz 1, Matt Godar 1, Graham McClone 1