Nov. 24, 2001
BERKELEY, Calif. - Despite a strong offensive effort, the UCLA men's water polo team lost to California, 9-7, in Saturday's semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at Spieker Aquatic Complex.
The loss drops the Bruins (14-4) into a third-place matchup with Long Beach State at 2 p.m. Sunday. UCLA can still gain an at-large bid to the NCAA Final Four with a win over the 49ers and a Stanford victory over Cal in the championship match.
Brett Ormsby (Fr., El Cajon/Valhalla), Matt Flesher (Jr., Diamond Bar/Brea Olinda), and Alfonso Tucay (Sr., Burbank/Burroughs) each scored twice for UCLA. Attila Banhidy notched a game-high four goals for California (15-6).
The teams traded goals for most of the first half with Cal taking a 4-3 edge by halftime. The Bruins came out blazing in the second half as Flesher's second goal tied the match at 4-4 halfway through the third quarter. Ormsby then converted a penalty shot to seize UCLA's first lead at 5-4 with 2:03 left in the period.
But Cal responded with four unanswered goals in front of its home crowd to grab an 8-5 advantage with 4:14 left. Tucay scored on consecutive possessions to narrow the lead to one and the Bruins held the ball with one minute remaining. But the Bear defense repeled UCLA and Banhidy clinched the victory with a four-meter penalty shot with eight seconds left.
Brandon Brooks (Jr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou) recorded eight saves, a total that Cal goalie Russell Bernstein matched.
UCLA 1 2 2 2 - 7 CAL 2 2 2 3 - 9