UCI Competes in SoCal Tourney

UCI 9 Davis 8

It was a beautiful Saturday morning under the radiant California sun at Cal State Long Beach. The UCI men’s water polo team took on UC Davis and the University of Southern California at CSULB’s aquatic center in the annual SoCal Tournament.

In the first game against UC Davis, the Anteaters started off strong with  a 2-0 advantage, led by  goals from driver Trent Baxter and two-meter man Jacob Mourer. During the second quarter, junior Nick Pfeil scored with an impressive skip-shot and driver Brian Pickford put another point on the board for UCI with 1:21 left on the clock. UC Davis kept the match competitive, putting three points on the board in the second quarter and entering halftime down 4-3 against Irvine.

UC Davis managed to keep possession of the ball for five minutes of the third quarter but a save from goalkeeper Jimmy Friedrich, a block by Baxter, and points by Mitch Wise, Derek Jarvis and Winston Newland  kept the Anteaters afloat. The score  tightened up when Aggie Bernie Rogers scored on a penalty shot and tied  the game at five with 3:48 on the clock. Pfeil scored with 49 seconds on the clock and the Aggies countered with a goal 20 seconds before the end of the third quarter.

UCI entered the fourth leading 8-7. Junior Winston Newland scored early for Irvine. UC Davis then capitalized on a UCI foul and scored. At the end of the regulation, Friedrich blocked the last shot attempt with six seconds left to edge out the Aggies, 9-8.

“Davis was a tough match-up,” said head coach Marc Hunt. “They came down there prepared and gave us a good game, but I thought that we outlasted them,.”

UCI 5 USC 11

Despite two consecutive losses to USC, Hunt seemed optimistic about the second game of the day against the Trojans.

“Our last game with USC was 7-4 and it was much tighter. I’m looking forward to another shot at them,” he said prior to the contest.

The Trojans, however, took another shot at Hunt and the ’Eaters, defeating UCI 11-5 on Saturday afternoon. It was eerily similar to the team’s first loss to the Trojans in 2011, which came on  Sept. 17 at the NorCal Tournament.

The USC Trojans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

Senior Sam Figueroa scored the first point for UCI in the second quarter. USC stayed aggressive and played lockdown defense against the Anteaters. They added four more points, closing the half with a 7-1 lead.

The Trojans ended the third quarter with a 10-3 lead. Mitch Wise recorded afield block and then scored a goal with 51 seconds left in the third.

In the fourth quarter, UCI rallied off a few points. Senior Derek Jarvis scored a five-meter shot. In the middle of the fourth, Jacob Mourer scored the final goal for UCI. USC scored once more within the last minute of regulation and defeated the Anteaters, 11-5.

UCI 15, Pepperdine 12

Irvine topped the Pepperdine Waves on Sunday morning, 15-12, advancing to the fifth-place game of the SoCal Tournament against UC Santa Barbara at the Joint Forces Base in Los Alamitos.

The Anteaters rallied off a big second-half comeback against Pepperdine after entering the half down 8-4. Junior 2-Meter Nick Pfeil scored a career-high six goals and senior driver Sam Figueroa registered a hat trick in the third quarter.

UCI took a 12-11 lead with 4:43 left in regulation, with a goal from Pfeil, but less than 30 seconds later the Waves tied the game on an extra-man goal. Pfeil scored two goals in the first three-minute extra session and freshman driver Alan Robertson also contributed a goal. Both teams went scoreless in the second overtime as UCI held onto their three-point victory.

UCI 9, UCSB 6

The Anteaters capped off their afternoon with a 9-6 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 2. Mitch Wise and Jacob Mourer scored two goals apiece. Irvine was outscored 5-4 in the first half and 4-2 in the second half.

A loss placed the ’Eaters sixth in the SoCal Tournament. UCI is now 10-6, having lost six of their last eight since starting the season 8-0.