Men’s Water Polo Blanked by Stanford
After falling to UC Santa Barbara on the road to a last second shot on Saturday, the No. 7 UC Irvine Men’s water polo team (11-9, 1-5) looked to bounce back against No. 5 Stanford (18-6, 4-3) on Sunday at the Anteater Aquatics Complex. Despite their efforts, the Cardinal shutout the ‘Eaters 7-0 and demonstrated why they have one of the best defenses in nation.
The ‘Eaters were held scoreless in the game due to Cardinal junior goalkeeper Drew Holland’s flawless performance defending the cage. Holland garnered 23 saves on the day and preserved the shutout after four quarters, which set the new MPSF single game record. UCI senior goalie Dylan Peterson also had a good showing with 16 saves but allowed seven Cardinal goals on the match.
Those who scored for the Cardinal were senior BJ Churnside, who led with a hat trick, MPSF all-time scorer senior Bret Bonnani, with a brace of his own, and sophomore Cody Smith and redshirt junior Adam Warmoth with goals apiece.
Stanford struck first in the opening 30 seconds of the game when Churnside scored from the wing and rifled the ball past Peterson. The Cardinal would lead 2-0 after the first period and score two more to end the half with a 4-0 lead. With many opportunities at goal, the ‘Eaters could not find the back of the cage against Holland and allowed the score to get out of hand.
“We could have put away our high percentage looks,” said head coach Marc Hunt, “We [started] getting a little tight and we [started] forcing lower percentage looks and then we [struggled].”
Two penalty shots were awarded to the Cardinal in the second half, which they both converted. The nail in the coffin came from a twirl shot by Warmoth, with 50 seconds left in the third period, to extend the lead to six. Stanford scored once more in the fourth to earn the 7-0 victory over the ‘Eaters.
The loss makes it the fifth consecutive for the Anteaters as they find themselves near the bottom the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings with a 1-5 conference record. UCI has yet to defeat any top-five team in the nation this season.
“This is going to sting us for a while, this is going to stay with us for a bit, so we need to make sure that we respond to it,” said Hunt, “[and] that comes with with increased intensity in training [and] increased intensity in our game preparation for our next game.”
MPSF conference play will continue for the Anteaters after Wednesday night’s nonconference game against Concordia (Cal.). UCI will end their two game home stand when they face San Jose State on Saturday at noon.