PASADENA, CA., October 26. SOMEBODY better get UCLA men's water polo coach Adam Krikorian some Maalox.
For the second time in a couple of weeks Coach K's Bruins lost an overtime heartbreaker to a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent, this time losing a tough 12-10 decision this afternoon to top-ranked Stanford before an overflow crowd at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center.
Two weeks ago, the Bruins lost to Pepperdine at home in four overtimes. Today they lost to Stanford for the second time in less than a week, as the Cardinal had edged the Bruins, 7-5, last Sunday at home in a non-conference match.
However, today's game was indeed a key MPSF encounter and top-ranked Stanford (18-2, 5-1 MPSF) had to go into its first overtime game of the season to finally prevail over the second-ranked Bruins (9-6, 1-3 MPSF).
Card senior Jeff Nesmith led both teams with four goals on the afternoon.
The first-half saw limited scoring for both teams. UCLA took a 3-2 halftime advantage, but then the fireworks began as both teams came out firing in the
third-quarter — and each scored three goals. Nesmith tied the game at 3-3 only 31 seconds into the second half, but with eight seconds to go in the third period, UCLA's Peter Belden scored to reclaim the Bruin lead heading into the final quarter.
Stanford's Jeff Guyman brought the Cardinal into the sixth tie of the game at 6-6 with 4:07 left in the fourth. then the Bruins scored the next two. After a Stanford time-out with 2:48 remaining, sophomore Tony Azevedo and senior Peter Hudnut combined for three goals in less than one and-a-half minutes, giving the Cardinal a 9-8 advantage.
Not for long, however, as UCLA sophomore Ted Peck found the net with 57 seconds to go, tying the game at 9-9 and sending the Cardinal into its first overtime match of 2002.
Junior Mike Derse notched two big goals for Stanford in the first overtime period (one 23 seconds into OT, the second with 35 to go). The Bruins came back to within one after a Josh Hewko goal with 1:15 to go in the second overtime period, but Stanford remained strong and Azevedo drew a four-meter penalty and scored with 8 seconds remaining to lock up the 12-10 Cardinal victory.
UCLA goal Brendon Brooks had a great day in the cage with 15 saves — a season-high. His Cardinal counterpart, Nick Ellis collected six saves.
Azevedo finished with three goals after having been shut out last Sunday against the Bruins for the first time in his collegiate career on The Farm. Combined with the five goals he had in Friday's 8-9 win over U Cal Irvine, the 6-5 Cardinal soph now has 67 goals for the season and is far and away the national scoring-leader.
"Tough, very tough loss," Krikorian said. "Stanford's playing excellent polo right now and that's why they're the No. 1 team in the country."
– Bill Bell
Jeff Nesmith 4, Tony Azevedo 3, Mike Derse 3, Jeff Guyman 1, Peter Hudnut 1.
Peter Belden 2, Brett Ormsby 2, Ted Peck 2, Dan Yielding 2, Albert Garcia 1, Josh Hewko 1.
Nick Ellis (Stan) 6
Brandon Brooks (UCLA) 15.