WHITTIER, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's water polo team will play for its 16th Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) conference championship after coming away with a 11-9 semifinal victory over UC Davis Saturday afternoon.
The win places the No. 1 seed Tritons to play No. 3 seed Air Force on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2:15 p.m. UCSD holds a 3-0 record when playing the Falcons in 2012. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships December 1-2.
UCSD (16-7) was able to outscore the Aggies (14-7) 4-2 in the opening eight minutes of the match. UC Davis kept it close by making a few short runs throughout the match, but the Tritons never gave up the lead.
Josh Stiling opened the match with a goal at the 7:10 mark. UC Davis' defense would hold Stiling from scoring again until the final three minutes of the match.
Physical play came into account early, with four of the six combined goals coming from six-on-five opportunities.
UC Davis would slowly make a recovery from the Tritons early push. The Aggies brought the game within one after scoring back-to-back unanswered goals to open up the third quarter. Brian Donohoe hit the back of the net with both his goals in the third. The rivaling squads went back and forth, but UCSD was able to hold onto a two point lead to take into the fourth quarter.
The Aggies posted their strongest offensive performance in the fourth quarter, scoring three goals early in play. UC Davis evened the score at nine with lead scorer Matt Vowell netting his fourth and final goal of the match with a strong move at two meter offense.
Stiling answered right back for the Tritons with his second and final goal of the game just before the two minute mark. John Butler netted the insurance goal late in the next sequence to put the score at 11-9.
In the final minute, Triton goalie Cameron Ravanbach came up with a blocked six-on-five attempt by the Aggies, followed by a five-meter penalty shot just off the crossbar to hold on and run the remaining 14 seconds. He finished the match with 11 saves, while Aggie goalie Philip Bates finished with eight.
For a complete list of tournament matches and results, visit the tournament homepage.
UCSD 4 - 2 - 2 - 3 = 11
UCD 2 - 1 - 3 - 3 = 9
UCSD Saves: Cameron Ravanbach 11
UCD Saves: Philip Bates 8
UCSD Goals: John Butler 2, Josh Stiling 2, Brian Roach 2, Brian Donohoe 2, Joe Dietrich, Luke Syka, David Higginson
UCD Goals: Matt Vowell 4, Eddy Nicholson, Bernie Rodgers, Chris Richardson, Jared Claphan, Colin Hicks
-- UCSDtritons.com --