STOCKTON, CA., Nov. 3. MAYBE Coach Dante Dettamanti's No. 1-ranked Stanford men's water polo team has begun believing in its own "invincibility." Or perhaps the Cardinal just took the University of Pacific's Tigers a tad too lightly.
In either case, Stanford stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to down, UOP, 10-7, here this afternoon in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matchup.
Stanford is now 15-0 overall, 7-zip in MPSF play, and travels to Davis this afternoon to take on the U Cal Davis Aggies. UOP is 5-11 overall, 0-7 in the MPSF.
Pacific scored on its first possession as Jared Pendergrass blasted a winner home past Card goalie Nick Ellis. Then a moment later UOP went up 2-0 as
Nick Hepner grabbed an errant Cardinal pass and outletted it to Brady Norvall for a breakaway goal. Then Hepner rifled hom a shot from seven meters out and Stanford was on the wrongend of a 3-0 count.
However, the Cardinal answered with four-consecutive goals, including a a pair by freshman Olympian Tony Azevedo.
UOP tied the score at 4 with 3:45 remaining in the first half but that was the Tigers' last hurrah. Stanford wemt on a 5-0 run and led 8-5 with 4:01 to play in the final quarter.
Azevedo and teammate Jeff Nesmeth, along with the Tigers' Pendergrass, tied for scoring honors with three each. Azevedo now has 49 goals and is the
country's top scorer.
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After losing to Stanford a week ago in Palo Alto for the third time this season, No. 2-ranked UCLA defeated No. 3 Pepperdine, 8-7, this afternoon at the loser's Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool.
The win gave UCLA a 10-3 overall record, 5-1 in MPSF play. Pepperdine is 12-3, 4-2.
The Bruins, double-defending NCAA Champs, were led by freshman driver Brett Ormsby, who scored three goals, including the match's final two. Senior teammate Jeff Pflueger tossed in a pair of goals and dished out a pair of assists, while Bruin junior Matt Flesher added a goal and three assists.
Pepperdine led at halftime, 5-4, on the strength of Jesse Smith's three goals.
However, in the third quarter the contest became a defensive struggle, as both teams accounted for only a goal apiece — Pfuleger for UCLA and Vedran
Kaluderovic for the Waves.
In the final quarter UCLA's Dan Yeilding tied the match at 6-6 with 4:38 remaining. Then Pepperdine went ahead, 7-6, on an extra-man tally from Jeremy Grubbs with 2:42 remaining — the fifth time the Waves had led.
However, the Bruins were not to be denied as Orsmby, UCLA's leading scorer, connected on a power play with 1:15 remaining to tie the count at 7. The Waves' next shot was stopped by Bruin goalie Brandon Brooks and the visitors then launched their counterattack.
Brooks led soph Alberto Garcia ahead with a long pass down the right side of the pool. Garcia then hit Ormsby with a nice lob over the outstretched arms of several Pepperdinew defenders, andthe rookie geat Wave goalie Michael Soltis with a skip shot to the short side with 39 seconds remaining.
Pepperdine missed a chance to tie when Grubbs' shot from five meters hit the crossbar and squirted out of bounds with eight seconds left.
The Bruins had five shots hit the goal and bounce back while Pepperdine had four.
Brooks wound up with 10 saves while Soltis had nine stops.
UCLA faces 10th-ranked U Cal Santa Barbara at noon today and a victory would give UCLA the No. 2 seed in the MPSF tournament — qualifier for the NCAA Finals.
– Bill Bell