PASADENA, CA., November. 23. UCLA's fourth-ranked Bruin men's water polo team jumped ahead early and held onto the lead throughout to defeat third-ranked and crosstown rival USC, 12-10.
The match was held before an overflow crowd of some 1000 fans Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. The Bruins improve to 13-7 with the victory and the teams will face-off again next Friday in the first round of the MPSF Tournament at Los Alamitos.
USC took its only lead of the contest when Gadi Hadar scored only 28 seconds into the match. However, the Bruins tied it less than two minutes later and then went ahead at the 2:19 mark, both on Ted Peck goals.
The Bruins never trailed again and took a 3-1 lead going into the second-period.
The Trojans made a game of it, coming within one goal three times in the second-quarter, and trailed 6-5 at the half.
It was all UCLA in the third period, as the Bruins rattled off three unanswered goals, behind two from freshman Michael March. USC scored just before the 3:00 mark to cut the margin to 9-6 before the final quarter.
March wan't done raising havoc with the Trojans as he found the back of the net twice in the fourth, giving the Bruins an 11-9 lead heading into the final minute.
Teammate Brett Ormsby, the Bruins' leading scorer this season, sealed his hat trick when he scored with 44 seconds remaining. However, USC hung tough and capped off the game with another Hadar goal at the 0:19 mark.
March led all scorers with a career-high four goals, while Ormsby added three. Peck scored twice, both in the first quarter. Peter Belden, Matt Flesher and Dan Yeilding all found the net to add to the Bruin charge.
With the win, the Bruins move ahead in the year-long Lexus-Gauntlet Trophy competition. Five points will be on the line next week at the MPSF Tournament.
– Bill Bell
#3 USC 1-4-1-4 = 10
#4 UCLA 3-3-3-3 = 12
Hadar 4, Zatovic 3, Damjanov 2, Kaiser, Andrejic
March 4, Ormsby 3, Peck 2, Flesher, Yeilding, Belden
USC (Damjanovic 12 GA A, 3 Saves)
UCLA (Brooks 10 GA A, 9 Saves)