Nov. 4, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Cristiano Mirarchi scored the game-winning goal at the 2:27 mark in sudden victory overtime, leading the No. 1 UCLA men's water polo team to a thrilling 13-12 victory over No. 8 Pacific in an MPSF match Friday night at Spieker Aquatics Center.
Mirarchi's game-winning score was his only goal in five shot attempts on the night. The goal from Mirarchi came 32 seconds into the match's third overtime period (first sudden victory overtime session).
In a back-and-forth contest that saw each team score in each of the two three-minute overtime periods, Mirarchi's deep shot from the perimeter as UCLA's 35-second shot clock was expiring handed the Bruins a crucial conference win.
"We could very well see that overtime situation again this season," head coach Adam Wright said. "You have to give Pacific a ton of credit. They fought all the way. For us to go deep into a match like that, into sudden victory overtime, will help us down the road. That's not an easy situation. For a lot of our guys, that's probably their first game here playing in sudden victory. It wasn't a pretty win, but to get the win is important."
Pacific kept its hopes of an MPSF upset alive in the second overtime period. Trailing 12-11, the visiting Tigers (10-9, 0-4 MPSF) drew a power-play opportunity with six seconds remaining and Goran Tomasevic scored his second goal of the match with one second left.
Tied 10-10 after four quarters, UCLA claimed an 11-10 lead on Hennessy's third goal of the night with 1:30 left in the opening extra period. Tom Koning scored his third goal of the game on an extra-man play with 26 seconds remaining.
In the second overtime session, Josh Samuels converted on a five-meter penalty shot - his third of the match - to put the Bruins ahead of Pacific, 12-11. Tomasevic's goal with one second left forced sudden victory overtime.
UCLA led throughout most of the first half and carried a 6-5 cushion into the third quarter. Leading 7-5 after Samuels scored for the Bruins with 7:08 to play in the final period, Pacific received back-to-back goals from Tomasevic (6:50) on a power-play opportunity and from Daniel Lungu (6:08), who finished with three goals.
Hennessy scored for the Bruins (5:25), and Pacific answered with a goal from Balazs Erdelyi (5:11), tying the game at 8-8. The Tigers claimed their first lead of the night on a goal from Alex Obert (3:08). UCLA's Griffin White answered with a power-play goal (2:25), knotting the score at 9-9.
Pacific's Koning added his second goal of the match with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, putting the Tigers ahead, 10-9. UCLA drew a five-meter penalty shot with 31 seconds left in the period, and Samuels converted on the shot to tie the game, 10-10. Pacific had one more possession, calling a timeout with 17 seconds left. Hennessy stole the ball with five seconds remaining and a deep shot was blocked by Pacific goalkeeper Alex Malkis.
UCLA goalkeeper Matt Rapacz totaled nine saves, including a monumental stop from two meters with 1:59 remaining in the first of two three-minute overtime periods. Malkis made seven saves for Pacific.
The Bruins return to action at No. 11 UC San Diego on Sunday, Nov. 6. Game time at UCSD's Canyonview Pool is slated for 12 p.m.
Game Notes: UCLA played its first sudden victory overtime match since 2007, when the Bruins played two sudden victory overtime games in the span of six days (lost to Pepperdine, 7-6, in six overtimes on Nov. 17; lost to UC Irvine, 10-9, in three overtimes on Nov. 23 in the MPSF Tournament)...prior to Friday's game, UCLA had not won a sudden victory overtime contest since Sept. 22, 2007...UCLA last played an overtime game at the 2009 NCAA Tournament (Dec. 4), defeating Loyola Marymount by a 9-8 margin...Aimone Barabino had a stellar pair of earned exclusions followed by immediate goals in the second quarter (at 4:08 and at 3:22).
No. 8 Pacific at No. 1 UCLA (MPSF match)
Pacific Goals: Tom Koning 4, Daniel Lungu 3, Goran Tomasevic 2, Balazs Erdelyi, Lance Morrison, Alex Obert
Pacific Saves: Alex Malkis 7