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."
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.