Sept. 18, 2011
STOCKTON, Calif. - The No. 3 UCLA men's water polo team dropped a 10-8 decision to No. 1 USC in the championship match of the NorCal Tournament late Sunday afternoon at Pacific's Chris Kjeldsen Pool.
UCLA finished second at the NorCal Tournament for the third consecutive season. In 2009, the Bruins fell to Stanford in the title match. Last fall, UCLA lost an 11-10 decision to USC in the championship contest.
Josh Samuels led UCLA (5-1) with three goals in Sunday's loss to USC. Kostas Genidounias tallied a game-leading five goals for the Trojans (6-0).
The Bruins trailed 5-2 after the first quarter and were never able to tie the contest. UCLA outscored the Trojans, 2-1, in the second period, reducing USC's advantage to 6-4 by halftime.
In the third quarter, the Bruins cut USC's lead to 6-5 on a goal from senior Cullen Hennessy at 6:26. USC claimed a 7-5 cushion on a goal from Genidounias (2:38) before UCLA made the contest a one-goal game on a goal from Samuels (1:02). With nine second left in the third frame, USC's Peter Kurzeka scored, putting the Trojans ahead 8-6.
USC twice led by three goals in the fourth quarter and held on for the 10-8 victory.
USC senior goalkeeper Joel Dennerley recorded 19 saves in the cage.
Earlier in the day, UCLA edged No. 2 California, 6-5, to advance to the championship match.
Against the Golden Bears, Reynolds led the Bruins with two goals. UCLA also received one goal from seniors Brett Hays and Cullen Hennessy and Samuels. Against California, UCLA scored three goals in the fourth quarter to overcome an early 4-3 deficit that period.
UCLA earned its first win over California since Nov. 29, 2009, when the Bruins captured a 10-7 victory in the championship match of that season's MPSF Tournament.
Also on Sunday, the Bruins absorbed their sixth consecutive loss to the Trojans. UCLA last defeated USC on Nov. 28, 2009, at the Trojans' McDonald's Swim Stadium in a semifinal match of the MPSF Tournament.
The Bruins return to action against Pepperdine in a non-conference match at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday, Sept. 23. Game time is 7 p.m. A live audio broadcast of Friday's game will be available, free of charge, on uclabruins.com.
No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 2 California (NorCal Tournament Semifinal)
California Goals: Ivan Rackov 2, Luka Saponjic 2, Blake Kelly
California Saves: Justin Parsons 9
No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 1 USC (NorCal Tournament Championship)
USC Goals: Kosta Genidounias 5, Brian Boswell, Peter Kurzeka, Tobias Preuss, Michael Rosenthal, Nikola Vavic
USC Saves: Joel Dennerley 19