Graham Saber registered his sixth hat trick of the year and David Higginson tallied a pair of goals, but LMU used a third-quarter rally to dig the Tritons into a hole. Four LMU players recorded multiple goals in the match, led by John Mikuzis' three scores.
UCSD drops to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in Western Water Polo Association play. LMU improves to 5-2 and 4-0 in conference play.
The teams would struggle early to find the back of the net, as LMU keeper Kyle Testman and UCSD goalie David Morton made spectacular saves to keep it scoreless. Mikusis finally broke through with 3:38 left in the first quarter to give LMU a 1-0 lead. Joe Dietrich and Lukas Syka answered for the Tritons, but another Mikusis goal before the break would allow the Lions to take a 3-2 lead heading into the second quarter.
Higginson's goal with 6:39 left in the second tied the game at 3-3, but LMU answered with back-to-back goals from Charlie Horton and one from Max Schlegel to take a 6-3 lead and control of the match. LMU would lead by two at the half after Brian Donohoe scored for the Tritons with 1:19 remaining.
"We looked like we were ready to play early on and it was 6-4 at the half, but we left four or five easy scoring opportunities on the table and obviously that third quarter was a bit of a disaster," said UCSD head coach Denny Harper. "We were out-worked, out-muscled and we really got beat in front of the cage. They were the far superior team tonight."
LMU outscored the Tritons 4-1 in the third quarter and then accounted for two of the first three goals of the final stanza to take the biggest lead of the game, 12-6, with six minutes left. John Butler, Graham Saber and William Brown would score in succession to bring the Tritons within three with 1:40 on the clock. Saber made the deficit two with just over a minute remaining, but UCSD would eventually run out of time.
Coach Harper didn't read too much into his team's comeback, however.
"I don't know that we really did anything right [to get back in the game], it was more LMU realizing that they had the game in hand and they let their guard down a little bit," said Harper. "Prior to that run at the end, we were really getting dominated."
UCSD's only two losses this season have come at the hands of LMU. The Lions also took down the Tritons, 7-6, in September 4's Triton Invitational.
Prior to Thursday's match, participants in Camp Reach for the Sky- a charity run by the American Cancer Society which provides children with cancer ages 4-18 and their siblings a chance to attend a summer camp free of charge- were introduced to the 1,303 spectators at Canyonview. Donations to Camp Reach for the Sky were collected throughout the duration of the match.
The Tritons travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. tomorrow evening to take on No. 20 Air Force at 7:00 p.m. in Cadet Gym.