UCSD Men's Club Water Polo Shines at South of the Border Invite
The men's club competed in a preseason invite against community colleges from around San Diego and southern California. The men decisively went 4-0 against Santa Monica, Palomar, Miramar , and Mesa College.
In their first matchup of the tournament, UCSD easily defeated Santa Monica College 19-4. On offense, the game was highlighted by sophomores and brothers Jordi and Gonzalo Rivera, as well as returning sophomore Andrew Schade. The twins, who are first year members on the team, combined for seven goals, two assists, and two steals, Schade matched their line with seven goals of his own. On the defensive end, all eyes were on junior goalkeeper Sachin Okuma, who racked up 17 blocks and led the team in steals. He also made his presence known on the offensive side, providing seven assists from the backcourt.
Their second game, played Friday evening, was against hosts Miramar College, where the Tritons once again put up a commanding 21-6 win. Sophomore Andrew Burda provided seven goals for the club, and sophomore Malachi Sanders fed four assists to go along with two goals. Freshman center Sheldon French also notched a goal. Defensively disciplined, UCSD only gave up two exclusions over the course of the game; a key factor in their opponents low score.
On Saturday, matches were played at Mesa College. In the afternoon game, the men handled Palomar with a final line of 17-9. Graduate Student Graham McClone led the team with a hat trick, an assist, a steal, and a drawn exclusion. Gonzalo Rivera posted a second hat trick for himself, and freshman Max Miller scored his first two goals with the club. Once again, Okuma, who was named to the second All-American Team at last years National Championships, was excellent, accruing 14 blocks and two steals.
The final game of the tournament would prove to be the team’s most challenging. Mesa College, which had endured a tight defeat to UCSD rival San Diego State the night prior was prepared to defend their home pool from a second loss. As was the case the night prior, Burda put on a shooting clinic, scoring six goals from the perimeter. He also gathered four steals to match senior and co-captain Tobias Oliver. Senior and co-captain Jack Harper also had an impressive game; scoring twice (for a total of eight on the tournament) and providing two assists, one of which a masterful feed which he caromed off Miramar’s crossbar into the open water in front of Gonzalo Rivera. Rivera was easily able to field the rebounded ball and put it away for an easy goal. The Tritons ended up winning the game 16-10 to complete the tournament undefeated.
Next weekend, the UCSD Men’s Club Team will be in Irvine for their first set of regular season games.