LOS ANGELES -- The No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team earned a share of the regular season MPSF crown with a 10-9 come-from-behind win in double overtime over No. 4 USC on Thursday night at Spieker Aquatics Center on ESPNU. The Bruins ended the regular season at 27-2 overall and 7-1 in the MPSF and moved into sole possession of first place (Pacific and Stanford are a half game back at 6-1). The Trojans dropped to 23-4 overall and 5-3 in the league.
Freshman Ryder Roberts scored the game-winner as time expired at the end of the second overtime period. It is the sixth-consecutive game between the two teams to be decided by one goal and the second straight game to go into overtime.
UCLA scored first when McClintick scored from the front court at the 2:31 mark of the first period. Then Nikola Vavic scored the equalizer just 20 seconds later. USC took a 2-1 lead with a power play goal (:48) by Rapsey. But it was short-lived as the Bruins tied it at 2-2 to end the scoring in the first (:24) with a goal from the front court by freshman Chancellor Ramirez.
USC pitched a shutout in the second period to take a 4-2 lead at the break. The Trojans got a 6-on-5 goal by Jeremy Davie (7:37) and a goal from set by Jon Walters (6:45) in the second quarter.
The Bruins' offense came to life in the third period, scoring four goals after being shutout in the second. McClintick scored his second of the game (7:19) after UCLA won the opening sprint and had three straight possessions, which began with a power play that was extended from the end of the second period. But USC answered with back-to-back goals to push the lead to 6-3. After Paul Reynolds had a nice drive and finish to make it 6-4 (5:16), USC again led by three (7-4) with 2:49 left in the third when Vavic scored his second of the game. But the Bruins mounted their comeback on the arm of sophomore Anthony Daboub, who scored from the front court to make it 7-5 (2:25). Then senior Chris Wendt ended the scoring in the third (:44) to trim the lead to 7-6 heading into the fourth.
Lucas Reynolds scored his first of the game from set at the 6:07 mark of the fourth to tie the game at 7-7. After Rapsey completed his hat trick (2:49) to give the Trojans an 8-7 advantage, Paul Reynolds answered with his second goal of the game on a power play (2:09) to tie it at 8-8. Both teams had great chances to score the rest of the way, but the goalies for both teams made huge saves.
Both teams displayed solid defense in a scoreless first overtime period. The Bruins, which hadn't held a lead since the 2:11 mark of the opening period, struck first in the second extra frame when Lucas Reynolds scored his second of the game from two meters (2:34) to give UCLA a 9-8 lead. USC answered just 17 seconds later to tie it at 9-9 with a goal from Connor Virjee. Roberts provided the game-winning heroics to beat the buzzer after another freshman, Jack Fellner, earned an exclusion with :07 remaining.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Danner made the start in the cage for UCLA and played the entire contest, registering a 13 saves. James Clark was credited with 15 stops in the cage for USC.
The Bruins return to action next week at the MPSF Tournament, hosted by Pacific in Stockton, Calif., from Nov. 29-Dec. 31. Picked to finish fourth by the league's coaches during the preseason, the Bruins will be seeded either first, second or third, depending on how Stanford does against California in its regular-season finale this weekend.
No. 4 USC at No. 2 UCLA
|No. 4 USC||2||2||3||1||0||1||9|
|No. 2 UCLA||2||0||4||2||0||2||10|
USC Goals: Mace Rapsey 3, Jeremy Davie 2, Nikola Vavic 2, Jon Walters, Connor Virjee
USC Saves: James Clark 15