Pacific makes the NCAA final, beats Pepperdine 17-13

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Stockton, CA.Tournament host Pacific used their lethal offense and first-time starting goalkeeper Joey MacLeane to dispatch their GCC rival Pepperdine 17-13 in the NCAA semifinal Saturday night at Chris Kjeldsen pool.

Joey MacLeane, Pacific 12-7-19

Joey MacLeane, Pacific Photo Courtesy: Shumesa Mohsin

GCC player of the year, Luke Pavillard, collected 5 goals, 3 assists, and 2 steals. MacLeane, who was making his first start of the season for the Tigers, registered 11 saves. Serbian Pacific Freshmen, Djorde Stanic scored 4 times and delivered 3 assists. Special teams were pivotal as the Tigers piled up 5 power play goals together with 4 penalty goals in the game. Pepperdine, by contrast was 3 for 9 on 6 on 5 with 2 penalty conversions.

Djorde Stanic, Pacific

Djordje Stanic Photo Courtesy: Shumesa Mohsin

The Waves seized the lead 4-3 after the first quarter behind goals by Balazs Kosa (2), Jake Gordon, and Chris Dilworth. Pacific answered with a dominant 2nd quarter by scoring 5 times and riding 6 saves by MacLeane to hold the Waves to only 1 score. After halftime, Pacific continued their offensive dominance by ringing up another 5 in the third quarter while holding their opponents to 3. With a 13-8 margin going to the 4th period, the Tigers held on for a comfortable semifinal victory.

Tiger Head Coach James Graham, has his team in the final for the first time since 2013. “ We came into this season wanting to get to this moment, we can’t wait for tomorrow.” Star Luke Pavillard relishes the matchup with the top seeded Cardinal: “Love playing Stanford…they’re an amazing team, it’s going to be a tough game but all championships are, look forward to it.”

MacLeane overcame health issues to be ready to play and Graham praised him. “He’s a gamer, he fired us up, and gave us energy”. The Tigers bounced back from a disappointing GCC tournament which in Graham’s words was “a near death experience” by having their “best 2 weeks of training this year”.

The Tigers can score and Graham sees the championship coming down to a defensive challenge. “We’re an offensive juggernaut, the best in school history. We’ve got to play defense tomorrow night.”