Water Polo Dominates at UC Irvine Tournament
The UCSD Men’s Club Team competed in its first regional tournament of the season at UC Irvine. For the first time in five years, UCSD entered both an A and a B team into the league. UCSD’s A team went undefeated once again, but the B team, having had less than two weeks to train and prepare, struggled through three hard fought losses.
The B Team’s tournament began with a matchup against Arizona State. Led by Assistant Coaches Mackenzie Cottle and JJ Kadifa, the Tritons were able to stay even with the Sun Devils for about two periods, before the Devil’s deeper and larger bench allowed them to pull ahead in the second half. Later in the day, the B Team played a close match against the University of San Diego, keeping the score within two goals until the last quarter, when the Toreros were able to put away a few goals to seal the victory. Junior Zane Girouard and Sophomore Liam Stone provided most of the offensive support with their strong outside shooting. Sunday morning, the two triton squads were slated to face off against each other in an exhibition, giving the team a chance to mix A&B for a full-length match. The B team’s final matchup was against cross-town rivals San Diego State. SDSU’s team-play and speed proved to be too much for them to handle, although the you B team managed to put up two goals against the 2017 National Champions.
The A Team, directed by Head Coach Hector Sanchez, played their first match against UC Irvine, posting a dominating, double digit win highlighted by the offense of perimeter players Graham McClone and Andrew Burda. Later in the day, the Tritons faced off against University of Arizona in what is always expected to be an interesting matchup. In the first quarter, the started strong and posted an early 3-0 lead before the Tritons were able to fight back to a 3-3 tie by the end of the first quarter. Despite working their way back into the game, UCSD found itself in early foul trouble and had to adjust defensive tactics early on to avoid losing players to fouling out. In the second and third period, UCSD outscored Arizona 4-1 and 5-3, posting a comfortable lead, before running away with an 8-1 fourth, making the final score line 19-8. Starting center Jack Harper posted six goals in the win, but it was the second-string center, freshman Sheldon French, who topped the highlight reel with two flashy goals. On Sunday, after the mixed squad scrimmage in the morning, the A Team took on USD. In the first half, the Tritons allowed only one goal, but struggled to connect on offense. They found their groove in the third, however; putting up twelve unanswered goals, capped by a no-look skip shot from Harper, in the second half made the final score 17-3.
The Tritons get a weekend off before traveling to the University of Arizona for their second regional tournament.