STOCKTON, Calif. -- The third-seeded UCLA men's water polo team couldn't overcome its slow start and fell to second-seeded Stanford, 11-10, in the semifinals of the 2013 MPSF Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Pacific's Chris Kjeldsen Aquatics Complex. The Bruins dropped to 28-3 overall while the Cardinal improved to 21-4. UCLA will face No. 1 Pacific with possible NCAA Tournament implications on the line in the third-place game tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.
Redshirt junior Cristiano Mirarchi scored three goals (all in the fourth period) to lead the Bruins. Alex Bown led the Cardinal with five goals.
Stanford jumped out to a commanding 6-1 lead at the end of the first period, leaving the Bruins to play catch-up the rest of the way. Senior Chris Wendt scored a goal on a nice drive and finish to trim the lead to 2-1 with 6:23 left in the opening period. But four different Stanford players scored goals to end the period with the big advantage.
The Bruins gave a much better defensive effort in the second quarter, holding Stanford to just one goal, but could only pick up two scores to make a small dent in the Cardinal lead. Junior Paul Reynolds scored a power play goal with a nice lob (7:06) and freshman Ryder Roberts scored on a counter attack (4:28) to make it 6-3. But the Cardinal got a power play goal from Bowen, his third of the game (4:02) to give Stanford a 7-3 lead at halftime.
The Cardinal and the Bruins battled to a 3-3 draw in the third period. UCLA could not get closer than four goals in the third. The Bruins received penalty goals from Paul Reynolds (4:04) and Roberts (:22) in the quarter. Lucas Reynolds scored a goal from set (2:29) as UCLA headed into the fourth, trailing 10-6.
Senior Aimone Barabino closed the gap to 10-7 with a power play goal to open the scoring in the fourth period (7:37). But the Cardinal would get a 6-on-5 goal by Bowen, his fifth score of the game at the 6:03 mark of the final period. Mirarchi scored three straight goal from five meters after being fouled to make things interesting. His first made it 11-8 (4:53) followed by another with 1:31 to go. He then pulled the Bruins to within one at 11-10 with :28 remaining. But the Cardinal ran out the clock to preserve the win.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Danner made the start in the cage for UCLA and played the entire contest, registering nine saves. Drew Holland was also credited with nine stops in the cage for Stanford.
No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 3 UCLA
|No. 2 Stanford||6||1||3||1||11|
|No. 3 UCLA||1||2||3||4||10|
Stanford Goals: Alex Bowen 5, Bret Bonanni 3, Forrest Watkins 2, Nick Hoversten
Stanford Saves: Drew Holland 9