Sept. 17, 2011
STOCKTON, Calif. - The No. 3 UCLA men's water polo team advanced to the semifinals of the NorCal Tournament with a 13-10 victory over No. 6 UC Santa Barbara late Saturday afternoon. Junior Josh Samuels paced UCLA (4-0) with three goals in a second-round match at Delta College.
In the team's most closely-contested game of the young season, UCLA overcame a 3-2 deficit after the first quarter and scored the game's final three goals after the match was deadlocked, 10-10, midway through the final frame.
UC Santa Barbara (6-2) was led by five goals from Matt Gronow.
Earlier in the day, UCLA cruised past No. 20 Air Force in a first-round match, 21-4. In that contest, the Bruins received three goals from senior Brett Hays, junior Bret Lathrope and sophomore Lucas Reynolds.
UCLA's pair of victories on Saturday propels the Bruins into a Sunday afternoon semifinal showdown against No. 2 California. The Bruins and Golden Bears are slated for a 12 p.m. start Sunday at Pacific's Chris Kjeldsen Pool.
In Saturday's contest against UCSB, the Bruins outscored the Gauchos by a 5-2 margin in the second quarter to claim a 7-5 lead at halftime. Freshman Paul Reynolds tied the game, 3-3, just 22 seconds into the period before sophomore Paul Pickell snapped the tie with a goal at 6:07. Junior Griffin White (4:26) and sophomore Lucas Reynolds (3:26) added back-to-back goals for UCLA, extending the team's margin to 6-3.
The Bruins reached their largest lead of the day - four goals - on freshman Chris Fahlsing's goal with 2:44 remaining in the first half, putting UCLA ahead 7-3. UC Santa Barbara scored two goals in the final 67 seconds of the second quarter to reduced the Bruins' advantage to 7-5.
UCLA led throughout the third quarter, as each team traded three goals.
UC Santa Barbara battled back in the opening minutes of the final period, tying the contest at 10-10 with 6:08 to play in regulation. The Gauchos received goals from Gronow and Shoemaker, before UCLA scored the game's final three goals. Sophomore Aimone Barabino broke the 10-10 tie with a goal at 5:21. The Bruins also received two goals in the final period from Samuels, at 4:14 and 3:14.
Junior Matt Rapacz recorded 10 saves in goal for UCLA. UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Myles Christian was credited with five stops in the cage.
UCLA will play two games at the NorCal Tournament on Sunday. The Bruins open the day against No. 2 California in a semifinal match at 12 p.m. The winner of that game will play for the tournament crown, against either No. 1 USC or No. 4 Stanford, at 5 p.m. The third-place game is scheduled for 4 p.m.
VIDEO UPDATE: UCLA's second match on Sunday, against either No. 1 USC or No. 4 Stanford (at either 4 p.m. or 5:20 p.m.) will be streamed live online. In all, the final four games of the NorCal Tournament will feature a live video stream online, through Big West TV. For $9.95, fans can purchase a tournament pass to watch the championship game, in addition to the third, fifth and seventh-place contests.
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 3 UCLA (NorCal Tournament, Quarterfinal)
|UC Santa Barbara||3||2||3||2||10|
UC Santa Barbara Goals: Matt Gronow 5, Derek Shoemaker 2, Jesse Gillespie, Matt Johnson, Teddy Zhang
UC Santa Barbara Saves: Myles Christian 5