IRVINE, Calif. -- The No. 1 UCLA men's water polo team dropped its first game of the 2013 season, falling to 18-1 on the year after a 12-11 setback to No. 2 USC in double overtime in the championship game of the SoCal Invitational at UC Irvine. Senior Lucas Reynolds and sophomore Danny McClintick each scored two goals to lead UCLA as nine different Bruins scored. This is the fifth-consecutive game between the two teams to be decided by one goal.
The 18-0 start to the season tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in UCLA history, equalling the 18 consecutive games won by the 2004 national championship squad.
Nikola Vavic got the Trojans on the board first with a power play goal (6:31). Then McClintick tied it at 1-1 with a power play goal (4:21). The Bruins reeled off four straight goals when senior Chris Wendt (3:22) and freshman Gordon Marshall (2:11) scored goals at full strength and freshman Ryder Roberts added a 6-on-5 goal (0:20) to make it 4-1. The Trojans ended the scoring in the first period with a goal from the front court (0:40) by Conor Vrjee.
USC cut the lead to 4-3 with a strike from Kostas Genidounias (7:29) on the opening possession of the second period. But Reynolds scored his first of the night from set to extend the lead to 5-3 (7:03) on the Bruins' next possession. Vavic then trimmed the lead to 5-4 with a goal with 6:09 remaining in the first half. Redshirt junior Cristiano Mirarchi added a goal (1:57) to send the Bruins into the break with a 6-4 advantage.
Freshmen Jack Fellner (power play) and Chancellor Ramirez opened the third period with back-to-back goals (5:13 and 4:24) to give UCLA its largest lead of the game at 8-4. But the Trojans ended the third quarter with two unanswered goals, the first by Zach Lucas (power play, 2:37) and the latter by Genidounias (0:24) to trim the lead to 8-6 heading into the fourth.
The first five goals of the final period were scored on power plays. McClintick scored his second of the game (5:34) to push the Bruins' lead to 9-6. But Vavic completed a hat trick (4:59) on the next possession. Senior Aimone Barabino answered (4:08) with an exclusion goal, but USC got back another power play goal from Vrjee (3:04) and Vavic (2:11), his fourth score of the game, to cut the lead to 10-9. Mace Rapsey tied the game at 10-10 with a goal with 1:30 remaining. But Reynolds scored his second from two meters to give the Bruins an 11-10 lead with 1:04 left. Genidounias had the last-second heroics, sending the game into overtime with a goal with :01 remaining.
After both teams went scoreless in the first overtime period, Genidounias scored the eventual game-winning goal with 1:51 left in the second extra frame.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Danner made the start in the cage for UCLA, playing the entire game while making six saves. James Clark played the entire game in goal for USC and was credited with seven stops.
The Bruins return to action next Saturday when the open MPSF play at No. 4 Stanford. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks at 10:00 a.m.
No. 2 USC vs. No. 1 UCLA
|No. 2 USC||2||2||2||5||0||1||12|
|No. 1 UCLA||4||2||2||3||0||0||11|
USC Goals: Nikola Vavic 4, Kostas Genidounias 4, Conor Vrjee 2, Zach Lucas, Mace Rapsey
USC Saves: James Clark 7