LA JOLLA, Calif. – No. 12 UC San Diego defeated No. 20 Air Force, 15-10, on a special breast cancer and children’s cancer awareness night at Canyonview Friday.
The Tritons had six-year-old Bode Paulsen, nephew of head coach Denny Harper, as an honorary coach on the sidelines. He was presented with a custom-made Triton eye patch before Air Force gave him a commemorative Falcon water polo coin and hat at the game.
“It’s a unique scenario that I am a breast cancer survivor,” said Harper. “Childhood cancer awareness, with there being so many different forms, is important. We can’t be providing enough money for the research that needs to be done. I think we did a small part to help the awareness, and for that I’m grateful.”
The win improves UCSD to 11-10 overall and 3-0 in Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) play, while Air Force drops to 5-10 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
The two squads came out firing offensively and exchanged goals throughout the first half. Air Force found the back of the cage first with two goals to open the game, but the Tritons responded to lead 8-5 at intermission.
“We spotted them two, but we had a lot of composure and got it going offensively,” said Harper. “We had a great third period and shut them out. You win a lot of ballgames that way.”
The third quarter proved to be the difference in the match, as UCSD held the Falcons scoreless while the offense poured in three goals to lead 11-5 heading into the fourth. The Tritons received goals from Jeffrey Jarvis, Friedrich and Michalko in the period, while Cameron Ravanbach spearheaded the defensive effort with seven blocks in the third.
Despite allowing five goals in the final period, four coming from penalty shots, the Tritons held on to win, 15-10. UCSD matched the offensive production from Air Force in the quarter, scoring four times to hold the lead until the final whistle.
The Tritons received two scores from Luca De Vivo and one goal from Jarvis to complement the 12 combined scores from Cockerill, Dietrich, Friedrich and Michalko. Ravanbach totaled 15 saves in the cage for the Tritons.
Air Force was led by Andrew Hamilton and Josh Stedman, who scored three goals apiece, respectively. Caleb Guarino blocked seven shots in the loss.
If you are interested in learning more about or want to support childhood cancer research, please visit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation online at http://www.stbaldricks.org/.
UCSD concludes conference play next week, facing No. 16 Santa Clara and No. 11 UC Davis. The Tritons will take on the Broncos on Friday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. before playing the Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.
UCSD 5 3 3 4 - 15
AFA 3 2 0 5 - 10
UCSD: Chase Cockerill 3, Joe Dietrich 3, Tommy Friedrich 3, Matt Michalko 3, Luca De Vivo 2, Jeffrey Jarvis 1
AFA: Andrew Hamilton 3, Josh Stedman 3, Petar Jackovich 2, Dominic Vicino 1, Andy Santala 1
UCSD: Cameron Ravanbach 15
AFA: Caleb Guarino 7