Dec. 6, 2009
PRINCETON, N.J. - The UCLA men's water polo team dropped a 7-6 decision to USC in the NCAA championship match on Sunday afternoon at Princeton University's DeNunzio Pool. Junior Ben Hohl led the Bruins (23-7) with three goals, as UCLA appeared in its first NCAA title match since 2004.
USC led from the start, securing a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. The Trojans (26-2) received goals in the opening period from Peter Kurzeka (5:38), Shea Buckner (3:43) and J.W. Krumpholz (1:47).
UCLA got on the board with a goal from junior Emilio Vieira with 5:12 to go in the second quarter. After Thompson converted for the Trojans with 4:44 remaining, the Bruins registered consecutive goals from Hohl (2:59) and freshman Griffin White (0:01), closing the gap to 4-3 by halftime.
USC reclaimed its three-goal lead midway through the third quarter, taking advantage of back-to-back goals from Thompson (4:17) and Kurzeka (3:27).
Trailing 6-3, UCLA answered with a goal from two-meters by junior Jacob Murphy with 2:44 left in the third quarter. Hohl tallied his second goal with six seconds to play in the frame, reducing the Bruins' deficit to 6-5.
The Trojans scored their seventh and final goal with 3:47 to play, as Matt Sagehorn found the back of the cage. UCLA closed the gap to one goal, 7-6, on Hohl's third goal of the day.
The Bruins regained possession with 16 seconds to play in the game, but could not come up with a game-tying shot.
Senior goalkeeper Chay Lapin registered seven saves for UCLA. USC's Joey Dennerley netted 10 stops.
UCLA closes its 2009 season with a 23-7 record, registering more wins than any team in program history since the 2004 NCAA championship squad went 25-3.
USC 7, UCLA 6 (NCAA Championship)
USC Goals: Peter Kurzeka 2, Jordan Thompson 2, Shea Buckner, J.W. Krumpholz, Matt Sagehorn
USC Saves: Joel Dennerley 10