LA JOLLA, Calif. - Senior Nick Alexander found freshman Cooper Milton on the counterattack for the go-ahead goal as the 15th-ranked University of California San Diego men’s water polo team defeated No. 19 UC Irvine by a final score of 7-6, Sunday at Canyonview Aquatic Center on Senior Day. Seniors Andy Moore, Nassim Hmeidan, Jack Ellinthorpe and Alexander were honored before the game as they played in their final regular-season home contest.
The Tritons win their third straight and improve to a 12-6 overall record. The Anteaters drop to 8-9.
Milton and redshirt sophomore Cole Martinez led UCSD with two goals apiece. Moore, Ellinthorpe and sophomore Kevin Asplund pitched in one goal each. Redshirt sophomore goalie Jack Turner recorded 12 saves. Alexander recorded a game-high five assists to bring his career total to 126, surpassing Jon Hopkins (125) for third in program history.
Jack Trush was UCI’s leading goal scorer with four. Anteater goalie Matej Matijevic had 15 stops.
The Tritons got the first score of the game from a Moore shot converted outside five-meters with the shot clock winding down. UCI answered back as the two teams were even, 1-1, at the end of the first quarter.
UCSD did not score in the second period and allowed one Anteater goal as the Tritons trailed 2-1 at halftime.
The third quarter featured the majority of the scoring of the game. Both teams combined for eight goals in the frame, including four in the last 1:30. UCI grabbed its biggest lead of the game, 3-1, with a power-play score on its opening possession of the second half. UCSD tied it up after two six-on-five goals from Martinez and Asplund. Trush broke the deadlock and put one away to give UCI a 4-3 advantage.
Milton and Ellinthorpe were able to answer back with two goals on back-to-back possessions to give UCSD back the lead. After Trush completed his hat trick with 47 seconds left in the third period, Martinez answered with one of his own 17 ticks later as the Tritons led 6-5 with one quarter remaining.
Trush put away his fourth goal to even the score for the fifth and final time with 5:26 left in the game. Milton fired the eventual game-winner a minute later on the counterattack. Turner and the Triton defense did the rest of the work not allowing an Anteater score the rest of the way.
UCSD’s next contest will be at Santa Clara on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.
UC San Diego 7, UC Irvine 6
UCSD 1 0 5 1 - 7
UCI 1 1 3 1 - 6
UCI: Jack Trush 4, Bryant Joudrie 1, Ryan Warde 1
UCSD: Jack Turner 12
UCI: Matej Matijevic 15