LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 9 UC San Diego men's water polo team fell behind early and could not climb back against No. 2 Cal, as the Golden Bears beat the Tritons 18-8 on Sunday afternoon at Canyonview Pool in non-conference play.
UCSD dropped to 11-4 overall on the year. Cal finishes a 14-match road trip with a 14-2 overall mark.
Josh Stiling and Graham Saber scored first-quarter goals for the Tritons, but the Golden Bears jumped out to a 6-2 lead at the first break and did not look back. UCSD managed to limit Cal to just a pair of goals in the second quarter. Still, Stiling was the only Triton to score in those eight minutes and the Bears took a five-goal lead into halftime.
The teams traded goals to open the second half. Ivan Rackov and Aleksa Saponjic scored back-to-back to give the Bears an 11-4 lead with 2:58 remaining in the third. Joe Dietrich answered for the Tritons 13 seconds later, but Cal added two more before Matthew Michalko made it 13-6 seconds before the break.
Michalko would be the lone Triton to score in the final quarter, as the freshman scored a pair to complete a hat trick. The Golden Bears tallied five goals in the fourth for the 10-goal victory.
"Thats a darn good team we just lost to," said UCSD head coach Denny Harper. "I thought we would come out a little bit better today. Needless to say, Cal has some got some phenomenal shooters."
David Morton stopped eight shots in goal for UCSD.
The Tritons will travel to Long Beach State on Wednesday afternoon to face the 49ers at 3:00 p.m. UCSD will then return to Canyonview Pool on Friday night, when the Tritons host No. 5 UC Santa Barbara at 6:00 p.m.
"Wednesday and Friday are big games. Historically we don't play great at Long Beach, it's always a tough game there," said Harper. "And then anytime we play Santa Barbara is a challenge. Certainly we think we can do better than our last outing against them."
The Tritons play five of their final eight regular season matches at home.