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Redshirt junior Cristiano Mirarchi led the Bruins with two goals in the fourth quarter.
Slow Start Dooms No. 2 UCLA in MPSF Opener
By: UCLA Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. -- The No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team dropped its second straight game, falling to 18-2 overall and 0-1 in the MPSF after an 8-6 setback at No. 4 Stanford (11-4, 1-1 MPSF) at Avery Aquatic Center on Saturday morning.

For Stanford, it was the Cardinal's first win over the Bruins since Oct. 11, 2009.

The game will air on the Pac-12 Networks on a tape-delayed basis Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. (PT).

Today's game was nearly an exact opposite of the Bruins' 10-5 win over Stanford just a week ago. In that contest, UCLA jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never looked back. Today, the Cardinal jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never trailed.

Bret Bonanni led the Cardinal with three goals while UCLA was led by redshirt junior Cristiano Mirarchi, who had two goals in the fourth quarter.

The Bruins saw a return of an old problem on Saturday, capitalizing on 6-on-5 opportunities. UCLA went 0-for-11 on power plays after entering the game converting on 50.7 percent of its extra man opportunities on the year. But the Bruins' 6-on-5 defense also wasn't up to form, allowing Stanford to score on 5-of-7 power plays.

Stanford controlled the first period with a goal from the front court and a power play strike to lead 2-0 heading into the second quarter. 

Conner Cleary put Stanford up 3-0 in the second period with a goal from set. Senior Aimone Barabino finally got the Bruins' first goal, a strike from two meters, to make it 3-1. But Stanford responded to push the lead to 4-1. Freshman Gordon Marshall closed the gap to 4-2 at halftime with a goal from set just before the buzzer.

The Bruins looked poised to make a comeback and trimmed the lead to 4-3 with a counter attack score from sophomore Anthony Daboub to open the scoring in the third period (3:06). But the Cardinal began to pull away from the Bruins late in the third period. Stanford answered right away as BJ Churnside scored a power play goal 25 seconds later. Then Alex Bowen netted another exclusion goal less than a minute later to push the lead back to three at 6-3.

After junior Paul Reynolds scored on a nice drive to bring the Bruins to within two (6-4), the Cardinal would engineer a back-breaking sequence at the start of the fourth period. Churnside, with the Cardinal ahead 6-4, won the opening sprint and seconds later Bret Bonanni got inside on the Bruin defense and scored to up the lead to three at 7-4. UCLA turned the ball over to the Cardinal within seconds of the next possession and once again the Cardinal slipped behind Bruin defenders with Forrest Watkins doing the honors and just like that Stanford enjoyed an 8-4 edge over UCLA. Mirarchi added two counter attack goals in the fourth to provide the final score of 8-6.

Redshirt freshman Garrett Danner made the start in the cage for UCLA, playing the entire game while making 11 saves. Drew Holland played the entire game in goal for Stanford and also was credited with 11 stops.

The Bruins return to action tomorrow when they travel to No. 16 Santa Clara in non-conference action, beginning at Noon. UCLA will then face West Valley College at 2:00 p.m. in an exhibition game.

No. 2 UCLA at No. 4 Stanford

  1 2 3 4 F
No. 2 UCLA 0 2 2 2 6
No. 4 Stanford 2 2 2 2 8

UCLA Goals: Cristiano Mirarchi 2, Aimone Barabino, Anthony Daboub, Gordon Marshall, Paul Reynolds
UCLA Saves: Garrett Danner 11

Stanford Goals: Bret Bonanni 3, Alex Bowen, BJ Churnside, Conner Cleary, Jackson Kimbell, Forrest Watkins
Stanford Saves: Drew Holland 11


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