LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to No. 8 Long Beach State, the No. 9 UC San Diego men's water polo team will travel north for a pair of contests at UC Davis and Santa Clara ripe with Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) post-season implications.
UCD comes into Friday night's match sitting atop the WWPA standings with an 11-4 overall record and a 10-0 mark against WWPA opponents. If the Tritons are able to pick up a pair of wins this weekend and the Aggies drop both of their contests, the teams would be tied for first place in the conference with only a month remaining in the regular season. Friday's tilt with the Aggies is set for 3:30 p.m. at the School Aquatics Center.
UCSD (9-6) faces No. 11 Santa Clara the following day, Saturday, at 1:00 p.m. in the Sullivan Aquatic Center. Santa Clara and UC Davis are currently tied in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) poll with 48 points apiece. Santa Clara is currently in fourth place with a 9-8 record, however, they are 2-4 against fellow WWPA opponents.
After going 3-1 in the SoCal Tournament on Oct. 2-3 in Los Angeles, the Tritons dropped a narrow 6-5 decision at home to the 49ers in front of 1,136 fans. The 49ers raced out to an early 2-1 lead, but Triton sophomore Brian Donohoe
tossed in a long power play goal to tie the match. The teams would trade scores until LBSU made it 6-3 by scoring two goals in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Kevin Driscoll
and Donohoe would be able to scrape UCSD back within one with a pair of goals, but a Triton turnover in the waning seconds halted any chance of a comeback. Goalkeeper David Morton
, the reigning WWPA Player of the Week for Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, recorded nine saves in the match.
Despite the narrow loss to LBSU, UCSD has won six of its last eight matches, outscoring opponents 83-73 in that span. Donohoe continues to lead the scoring onslaught this season with 29 goals. Ryan Allred
has contributed 21 goals on the year and Bryce Madsen
has scored 18.
The Aggies have split their last two matches, beating Redlands 14-12 on Sept. 26 before falling 8-3 to No. 7 Pacific on Oct. 8. Sophomore Colin Hicks leads the team with 38 points coming off of 21 goals and 17 assists. His point-total is equivalent to senior Matt Richardson, who leads the team with 20 assists. In the most recent meeting between UCSD and UCD at the NorCal Tournament in Pleasant Hill on Sept. 18, UCD prevailed 10-6.
Winners of five straight, the Broncos come into Saturday's tilt after sweeping the Claremont Convergence tournament Oct. 8-9. Santa Clara defeated Whittier, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental at the Convergence while outscoring their opponents 42-18. Stephen Hobbs leads the team with 24 goals on 56 total shot attempts. Daley Meistrell plays the role of set-up man for the Broncos with 42 assists on the year.
In their last meeting on Nov. 7, 2009, the Tritons rallied to overtake the Broncos, 14-13, in double overtime.
UCSD returns home next weekend on Saturday, Oct. 23, to host No. 10 Loyola Marymount at 2:00 p.m. in Canyonview Pool. Before the match, the Tritons will have their annual alumni game at 11:00 a.m.