Nov. 6, 2005
Long Beach, Calif. - The fourth-ranked UCLA men's water polo team held off a late 49er rally to hang on to a 9-8 victory over No. 8 Long Beach State in a MPSF conference match before a standing room only crowd of 348 at Long Beach State's Campus Pool on Sunday afternoon. The Bruins improve to 17-5 overall and 3-1 in MPSF play, while the 49ers drop to 15-12 and 0-4 in conference action.
UCLA received goals from seven different players, led by sophomore Marco Santos and freshman Krsto Sbutega, who each had two goals apiece. Senior John Blanchette, junior Grant Zider, sophomores Justin Johnson and Matthew Jacobs, and freshman Russell Simpkins chipped in a goal each.
Junior goalkeeper Will Didinger finished the match with nine saves.
The Bruins scored first on Sbutega's goal at the 6:25 mark in the first period, but fell behind 2-1 after Long Beach State's Jay Gerardi scored at the 2:26 mark. A Santos goal with 39 seconds left in the first period would tie the match for the Bruins at 2-2.
UCLA exploded in the second period with four goals by four different Bruins, while holding the 49ers to just one goal in the period. Santos' second goal with 21 seconds left in the half would give the Bruins a 6-3 advantage at halftime.
Long Beach State responded in the third period with two early goals, and cut the Bruins lead to 6-5 with 2:01 left in the period. Blanchette's goal at 1:24 in the third would give the Bruins a two-goal cushion, and entered the final period up 7-5.
UCLA notched two important goals early in the fourth period. Simpkins scored at the 5:55 mark, and Jacobs followed 41 seconds later with a goal that put the Bruins up 9-5 with a little over five minutes left to go in the match.
UCLA looked to have the match well under control, but Gerardi scored three goals for the 49ers in the last five minutes of the final period, including a goal with seven seconds left, to cut the deficit to only one goal.
UCLA will next travel to No. 6 UC Irvine and take on the Anteaters in a MPSF match on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.
Final Results:UCLA GOALS: Sbutega 2, Santos 2, Johnson 1, Blanchette 1, Simpkins 1, Zider 1, Jacobs 1
Team 1 2 3 4 Total UCLA 2 4 1 2 9 Long Beach State 2 1 2 3 8
LBSU GOALS: Gerardi 4, Ludecke 1, Scoles 1, McCleave 1, Sakata 1
GOALIE SAVES: Onyshko (LBSU) 10; Didinger (UCLA) 9