BERKELEY, Calif. -- The No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team improved to 11-0 on the season with a 9-8 win over No. 1 USC (11-1) this evening to win the NorCal Invitational. The victory over the Trojans ended USC's 41-game winning streak, dating back to the 2011 season.
Freshman Lovre Milos led UCLA with a hat trick and the Bruin newcomers scored 5-of-9 goals to remain undefeated and help UCLA win its first NorCal Invitational championship since 2004.
The first period was a high-scoring affair with USC drawing first blood on a power play goal by Mace Rapsey (6:32). The Bruins quickly tied it on the next possession when sophomore Danny McClintick fired a shot from the front court at the 6:09 mark of the first. Rapsey put USC up 2-1 with a drive and finish with 2:50 left in the opening period. Sophomore Anthony Daboub answered right back from the front court to tie it 2-2 (2:23). The Trojans regained the lead at 3-2 with a power play goal by Kostas Genidounias with 1:33 left in the first quarter. Freshman Jack Fellner knotted it up at 3-3 on a 6-on-5 opportunity (:49). Milos gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead at the end of the period, scoring on a counter attack with six seconds to go.
Zach Lucas opened the scoring in the second period with a goal from the front court to tie it at 4-4 (7:00). Junior Paul Reynolds gave the Bruins the lead back just eight seconds later with a shot from outside five meters. Lucas then tied it at 5-5 with another exclusion goal for USC with 5:11 left in the second quarter. Nikola Vavic ended the first half scoring with a drive and score with :39 left to give USC a 6-5 lead at the break.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle as each team netted only one goal. UCLA tied it at 6-6 when Milos struck from the front court for his second goal of the game (6:25). Rapsey completed a hat trick with an exclusion goal to give the Trojans a 7-6 lead (:33) heading into the fourth.
Milos completed his hat trick to open the scoring in the fourth on a counter attack to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:42 to go. Freshman Ryder Roberts scored from the front court to put UCLA up 8-7 with 5:07 remaining. Genidounias scored his second of the game for USC to tie it at 8-8 with 3:30 left in the contest. Then redshirt junior Cristiano Mirarchi nailed the game-winner from the front court with 2:47 left to provide the final score of 9-8.
The Bruins were 1-for-4 on power plays while USC was 4-for-7. Neither team attempted a penalty shot.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Danner played the entire game in the cage for UCLA and was credited with 12 saves, including five in the third quarter and eight in the second half. James Clark registered four saves in goal for the Trojans.
No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 1 USC
|No. 2 UCLA||4||1||1||3||9|
|No. 1 USC||3||3||1||1||8|
USC Goals: Mace Rapsey 3, Zach Lucas 2, Kostas Genidounias 2, Nikola Vavic
USC Saves: James Clark 4