UC Berkeley 15
UC Irvine 3
Second-ranked Cal gave the UC Irvine men’s water polo team a rude welcoming to conference play Saturday afternoon, dominating the Anteaters in every facet of the game in a 15-3 victory at the Anteater Pool.
Irvine, which is ranked 10th in the country, had little chance against the Golden Bears as they fell into an early 8-1 halftime deficit and struggled to muster any offense against the stringent Bears’ defense.
Junior driver Colin Mello did his best to keep the Anteaters in the game, scoring two goals, but it was not enough for the young UCI team. Mello, who now leads the team with 51 goals on the season, received no offensive help from his fellow teammates, allowing the Gold Bears defense to focus exclusively on preventing him from scoring.
On the defensive side, the Anteaters had trouble containing the Golden Bears as juniors Jeff Tyrell and Zac Monsees combined for seven goals, while seniors Brian Bacharach and John Mann added two goals apiece. Throughout the game, the Bears used their height advantage to draw excellent striking angles in the pool, leaving junior goalkeeper Matt Garcia little chance of denying the Cal attack. Garcia had a decent game between the post, netting eight saves.
The defeat was the fourth consecutive loss for the men’s team, after they had built momentum with consecutive wins over UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine. Their record now stands at 6-12 overall with a 0-1 record in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Games.
Heading into the match against the Golden Bears, few would have predicted the Anteaters would come away with the upset. The Bears were posting an impressive 18-3 overall record and were ranked the No. 1 team in the country before they lost twice to the Trojans of Southern California.
The turning point of the game was in the second period when the Golden Bears turned a 4-1 lead to their 8-1 halftime advantage.
Even with this big deficit, the Anteaters had the ability to regain their game plan during halftime. Yet, in the third period, the Golden Bears scored three more goals and went into the fourth period with an insurmountable 11-2 lead.
The men’s team will now head off to play Pepperdine on the road before returning home for a much-anticipated match-up against the No. 1 ranked team in the country, USC, on Oct. 28.