Pepperdine Waves Bye-Bye to UCI

Peter Huynh/Photography Intern

Pepperdine 11, UCI 10

The UCI men’s water polo match against the eighth-ranked Pepperdine Waves came down to the wire as the ’Eaters lost by a close margin, 11-10.

The first quarter was dominated by ejections from both sides, leading to power plays and opportunities for points. The Waves took advantage and managed to take an early 4-3 lead in the first period.

In the second period, Trent Baxter scored with 6:02 left to make it 4-4. However, 30 seconds later, Nick Pfeil was ejected, and Pepperdine retook the lead 5-4 through a power play goal. At the 4:06 mark, Pfeil returned and scored to make it 5-5. Coach Marc Hunt called a timeout with three minutes remaining to set up a play in hopes of retaking the lead.

After passing many times around the net, a forced skip shot was attempted to no avail. The ’Eaters then pressured the Waves on their end of the pool, and with 1:19 left until half time, Pepperdine’s shot hit the post.

Both teams exchanged goals in the third period to keep the game tied until Pepperdine jumped to an 8-7 lead through another power play goal from the Waves’ Nick Cooper with 4:47 left. A minute later, Cooper scored again to extend the lead. After Marc Hunt called another timeout, Trent Baxter closed to lead to 9-8, but at the 1:32 mark of the third Pepperdine answered with another goal.

Pepperdine struck first in the final period, increasing their lead to 11-8. It was not until the 4:49 mark that Irvine finally scored to keep the deficit by two. Irvine played with panic as they aggressively took forced shots at the goal. With only 2:35 minutes remaining, Marc Hunt called a time out to calm his teams’ nerves. Within the last minute, Mitch Wise cut the deficit to one, but it was to no avail as Pepperdine finished on top.

“We’ve got some good talent, but we are just on the inexperienced side,” said Coach Hunt. “We are a relatively new team.”

UCI is currently 12-8 overall and 0-3 in the MPSF conference.