Winding Down: Playoffs Are Just Around the Corner for UC Irvine

UCSB 12, UCI 10

UC Irvine (15-10) fell at UC Santa Barbara 6-2 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matchup on Nov. 12. The two teams began the match tied for fifth in the nation.

Senior Trent Baxter recorded a hat trick in the losing effort, while freshman Alan Robertson and junior Winston Newland contributed two goals each. Junior goalie Jimmy Friedrich made 10 saves.

UCSB led 7-3 at halftime.

UCI came back in the beginning of the second half with back-to-back goals within three minutes to lower their deficit to two. The Gauchos extended their lead 8-5, but Robertson and Baxter answered back to come within one point.

The Anteaters’ hopes dwindled as the Gauchos scored two more to grab a three-point lead, but junior Nick Pfeil managed to find the back of the net to cut the deficit to 10-8.

Although UCI opened up the final period with a goal at the 4:30 mark to stay within a point of the lead, UCSB scored two goals to push for a three-goal lead. Newland scored a consolation goal with 16 seconds left, but that was not enough to save the game for UCI.

UCI 15, UCSD 11

The men’s water polo team celebrated Senior Night  on Nov. 9 with a victory over UC San Diego in a non-conference matchup. In a fairly frustrating season, the UCI victory in their final regular season home game was a step in the right direction.

All four seniors scored at least once.. Seniors Sam Figueroa and Max Parrague, and sophomore Mitch Wise with hat tricks, while Pfeil scored two goals of his own.

The match was tight, but it worked to the Anteaters’ advantage in the first half. They entered half with a 7-5 advantage. The Tritons overcame a three-goal deficit twice to make it 9-8.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the seniors stepped up.  Parrague opened up the final quarter with back-to-back goals to give UCI an 11-8 lead. Figueroa then took advantage of a UCSD foul at 5:00 to score a power-play goal and Wise added another goal at 3:38 to push UCI’s advantage 13-8.

The Tritons showed some fight, though. Desperate, UCSD  sent one player to the offensive end while UCI still had possession in hopes of cherry picking. UCI noticed the cherry picker and was able to send a swimmer back to guard him. Regardless, UCI was able to score in the unconventional possession as senior Derrik Jarvis found the back of the net to go up 14-9. Despite scoring in the last five seconds of the game, UCSD hardly threatened toward the end of the game.

“I think the team executed with consistency,” Head Coach Marc Hunt said. “We passed the ball well and recognized good situations and attacked high-percentage opportunities at the right moment.”