NCAA Water Polo Champions 2015
No. 2 UCLA Downs No. 1 USC, 7-6, in Third Place Match

Oct. 2, 2011

Tournament Web Site

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - The No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team took down No. 1 USC, 7-6, in the third-place match of the SoCal Tournament on Sunday evening at the Joint Forces Training Base.

Josh Samuels scored the game-winning goal on a 6-on-5 opportunity with 6:58 to play in the fourth quarter, snapping a 6-6 deadlock.

UCLA (10-2) rebounded with the one-goal victory over USC after having dropped an 8-4 decision to California in a semifinal match earlier in the afternoon.

Against the Trojans (9-2), UCLA received three goals from Samuels and two from classmate Bret Lathrope. Luka Bokavsek and Cristiano Mirarchi each recorded one goal for the Bruins.

UCLA fell behind USC early, but rallied in a defensive second half.

The Trojans secured a 4-2 cushion after the first quarter. UCLA cut USC's lead to 5-4 by halftime. In the second quarter, Samuels scored just 32 seconds into the frame before USC answered with a goal from Mace Rapsey (5:15). Trailing 5-3, UCLA pulled its deficit to 5-4 on a goal from Cristiano Mirarchi with 29 seconds to play before halftime.

The Bruins closed the gap in the third quarter by outscoring USC, 2-1. Bokavsek scored for the Bruins at 6:24, tying the match at 5-5. USC's Nikola Vavic scored just 22 seconds later, putting the Trojans ahead, 6-5. Lathrope tied the contest for UCLA, 6-6, with a goal at the 2:33 mark in the third quarter.

UCLA scored the lone goal in the fourth quarter and held on for the victory. Samuels' extra-man goal at 6:58 in the final period was enough for the Bruins to earn their first victory over USC since Sept. 20, 2009.

In the win against USC, goalkeeper Matt Rapacz netted 10 saves. USC's Joel Dennerley was credited with nine stops in the cage.

Against California earlier on Sunday, UCLA received all four goals from Griffin White. The Bruins were tied, 2-2, after White's 6-on-5 goal with 28 seconds to play in the opening quarter. California received a goal from Zach Greenwood with 5:19 to play before halftime and carried a 3-2 cushion into the third quarter.

The Golden Bears used a 3-0 scoring run to open the second half and led by as many as four goals (6-2) after Ivan Rackov found the back of the cage on a 6-on-5 opportunity with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter. White's 6-on-5 goal with 37 seconds left in the period reduced California's lead to 6-3.

California outscored UCLA, 2-1, in the final frame to capture the 8-4 victory.

UCLA returns to action against California on Friday, Oct. 7. Game time of UCLA's first MPSF match of the season is 7:00 p.m. at the Bruins' Spieker Aquatics Center. Fans can listen to a live audio broadcast of the match online, free of charge, at

No. 3 California vs. No. 2 UCLA (SoCal Tournament, Semifinal)

1 2 3 4 F
California 2 1 3 2 8
UCLA 2 0 1 1 4

California Goals: Ivan Rackov 2, Luka Saponjic 2, Zach Greenwood, Ayal Keren, Cory Nasoff, Aleksa Saponjic
California Saves: Justin Parsons 7

UCLA Goals: Griffin White 4
UCLA Saves: Matt Rapacz 6

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 1 USC (SoCal Tournament, Third Place Match)

1 2 3 4 F
UCLA 2 2 2 1 7
USC 4 1 1 0 6

UCLA Goals: Josh Samuels 3, Bret Lathrope 2, Luka Bokavsek, Cristiano Mirarchi
UCLA Saves: Matt Rapacz 10

USC Goals: Mace Rapsey 2, Jeremy Davie, Peter Kurzeka, Tobias Preuss, Nikola Vavic
USC Saves: Joel Dennerley 9

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