The UC San Diego Men’s Club Water Polo team hosted the Southwest division this past weekend, October 24th through the 25th, in the divisions second weekend of conference play. Competition was fierce to determine who would be number one going into the Regional finals that would take place next week. The Tritons needed to go 4-0 on the weekend to claim that spot as their own. Standing in their way were the teams from University of Arizona, UC Irvine, Arizona State University, and University of San Diego.
First up for the Tritons was the University of Arizona Wildcats. In a competition that only saw the low score of eight total goals between the two teams, UC San Diego was able to pull out the win 5-3. Trailing on the scoreboard the whole game until the fourth quarter, it was truly a hard fought grinded out victory. Goalies Gio Goggia and Austin Fennacy led the Triton defense with force, only allowing one goal in the second half. Seniors Mike van Ahlers and Connor Watson combined for three big goals out of set, providing the big offensive presence in the center position. Captain Travis Knight provided the other two points, netting a self-drawn penalty shot late in the fourth to give the Tritons a late two goal lead. The weekend was off to a good start.
Next up were the UC Irvine Anteaters. Still raring from their first victory, the Tritons came out ready to go. With counter attack specialist Devon Tomooka and Brian Lee leading the charge, the Tritons won a decisive 16-2 victory. In a primarily offensive battle, many team members contributed to the game’s result. Standouts were Nick Ratekin providing several goals and power plays out of set. While Ratekin provided the offense, Andrew Goyler and Captain Frederick Ferrer provide the lockdown defense on Irvine’s offense, allowing only two goals the entire game.
Day two opened up with the Tritons facing the ASU Sun Devils. Having their only loss at the hands of this next opponent, the Tritons were pumped for this next one. The Sun Devils knew the importance of this game as well. A number one seed was on the line. After trading goals for thirty two minutes of fierce play, the Tritons ended up being the ones that scored last, winning the game 7-6. Once again Goyler and Ferrer provided excellent defense on the ASU setters, but thankfully the Tritons offense was firing as well. Lefties Jacob Stupin and Luka Vasiljevic worked cohesively to spur many of the Tritons opportunities from the lefty side of the pool. Veteran player Erik Silcock was the MVP of the game, putting up a hat trick to lead the Tritons in scoring in their victory.
For the last game the Tritons went up against USD. The Tritons finished strong with a 18-5 victory. It was truly a team victory with the scoring evenly distributed. Standouts were Joe Menke and Matt Honey leading the Tritons offense, while Mackenzie Cottle and J.J. Khadifia provide the strong defense.
The B team for UC San Diego also had two exhibition games this weekend. Two solid victories were achieved; 14-4 over USD and 14-7 over U of A B team. Sean Kim and Emmanuel Molina provided strong offense while Richard “Kip” Lund in cage and Kyler Gleason presented a formidable defense.
After their solid 4-0 result this weekend, the Tritons are going into their Regional competition ranked first.