Nov. 14, 2004
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - With a 7-6 come-from-behind victory against fifth-ranked UC Irvine on Sunday afternoon, the No. 1 UCLA men's water polo team captured its first perfect conference record and first outright MPSF title since 1999. The Bruins (21-2, 8-0) completed their regular season schedule with their 16th consecutive victory and the best regular season winning percentage (.913) since 1972. The victory also assures UCLA of a No. 1 seed heading into the conference tournament, which begins on November 26.
UCLA trailed early as the Anteaters (14-11, 4-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period. Senior two-meter man Dan Noon struck first for UC Irvine as he sent a shot past UCLA goalkeeper Joe Axelrad at 4:33 in the first. He wasted no time tallying his second goal of the day and giving the Anteaters a two-point advantage as he sent another shot to the back of the net at 3:27. The Bruins got on the board when sophomore Logan Powell skipped a shot by UCI goalkeeper Joe Wynne at 2:58. The teams exchanged goals to finish the period and headed into the second with UC Irvine ahead 3-2.
In the second the Bruin defense awoke as Axelrad allowed just a single goal to senior driver Rick Merlo to open the period. UCLA stayed within one when Michael March sent an off-balanced shot into the back of the net for a 4-3 score.
The Bruins finally tied the match after halftime as Bruin senior Brett Ormsby scored his second of three goals at 3:01 in the third. Then fellow senior Josh Hewko scored with a shot from two-meters at 2:06 to give UCLA its first lead of the match, 6-5. Ormsby would add another goal to make the score 7-5 before UC Irvine's Chris Peters netted a goal with :03 remaining in the match to finalize the score at 7-6.
Ormsby led all scorers with his hat trick while Noon and Merlo headed UC Irvine's attack with two goals apiece.
Axelrad tallied a total of ten saves on the day while Wynne picked up six.
Teams 1 2 3 4 T UCI 3 1 1 1 -- 6 UCLA 2 1 3 1 -- 7
UC Irvine Goals: Dan Noon 2, Rick Merlo 2, Tim Hutten, Chris Peters UCLA Goals: Brett Ormsby 3, Logan Powell, Michael March, Albert Garcia, Josh Hewko UC Irvine Saves: Joe Wynne 6 UCLA Saves: Joseph Axelrad 10