LONG BEACH, CA – #1 ranked Pepperdine University advanced to the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Men’s Water Polo Championships Friday afternoon at the Belmont Plaza Pool.
The Waves, who are 32-1 overall, downed the #8-seeded Long Beach State 49ers 11-2. LBSU won a play-in game on Friday morning, downing Pacific 13-5, to advance to its meeting with Pepperdine. In other first round action California defeated UC Santa Barbara, 11-7, Stanford downed UC Irvine, 6-5 and USC beat cross-town rival UCLA, 8-7.
In the opening game California used two goals apiece by Brad Kittredge, Ryan Flynn, Albert Won and Peter Stern to down UC Santa Barbara, 11-7. With the score tied at 6-6 after three quarters, California outscored the Gauchos 5-1 in the final quarter. Gardner scored all three of his goals in the fourth period to spur the Golden Bears to victory. His goals were at 6:17, giving Cal a 7-6 lead, 3:45 and 2:00.
Stanford was able to hold off UC Irvine as Sean Joy’s goal at 3:23 proved to be the winner. David Hay and Brian Heifferon both had two goals each for Stanford. Irvine trailed 4-2 after the third quarter but fought back to tie the score at 5-5. Greg Finley scored a two-point goal at 6:20. Heifferon scored at 6:00 for the Cardinal and then Dan Klatt scored at 5:40 for the Anteaters to tie the game. Joy’s goal spoiled a fine effort by UCI goaltender Tom Davis who had seven saves. Chris Aguilera had eight saves for the Cardinal.
In the third game, USC held on for an exciting 8-7 win over UCLA. The Trojans jumped to a 6-2 lead after one quarter as Marko Pintaric and Mateo Juric both had two-point goals for the Trojans. UCLA battled back though from an 8-3 deficit as Matt Armato had two of his three goals in the final period. His final goal, at 2:07, brought the Bruins to within one goal, 8-7, and USC goalie Richard McEvoy stopped the Bruins last second shot. McEvoy finished with seven goalie saves.
In the last game of the day, Pepperdine jumped on Long Beach State early, scoring three goals in the first period and four more in the second to take a 7-1 halftime lead. Alex Rodriguex had three goals for the #1-ranked Waves and Jack Kocur and Andy Bruininga had two each. Goalie Merrill Moses recorded seven goalie saves. For the 49ers Jeffrey Colyer had both LBSU goals.
In Friday morning’s play-in game between Long Beach State and Pacific, the 49ers’ Coyler had five goals and Joey Gendron tallied two (1 2-pointer) and Vincent Trotter scored two to lead the 49ers to a 13-5 win over the Tigers.