LA JOLLA, Calif. – Cameron Ravanbach and No. 14 UC San Diego delivered a strong second half to beat No. 8 Loyola Marymount, 11-7, Wednesday night. The Tritons received the go-ahead goal from Jeffrey Jarvis after a huge block and outlet pass from Ravanbach, putting UCSD ahead for good in front of a crowd of 1,639 at Canyonview Aquatic Center.
UCSD improved to 6-6 overall, while LMU dropped to 5-5. It was the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) opener for both teams.
“We came out a little shaky,” said head coach Denny Harper. “Once we started playing defensive the way we are expected to play, things turned around.”
The Tritons came out slow early in the match, falling behind quick in the first period 2-0. UCSD struggled offensively and failed to take advantage of a pair of five-meter penalty shots. With 2:07 left on the clock, David Higginson found the back of the cage to end the drought for the Tritons and head into the second period down 2-1.
UCSD allowed an early goal for the second straight period, but responded again with two consecutive scores to tie the match at 3-3. After an ejection was drawn by the Tritons, Joe Dietrich capitalized on a six-on-five advantage with a shot from outside to put UCSD up 4-3. The Lions managed a goal with 1:25 remaining to knot the score at four heading into intermission.
The Tritons came out in the second half determined on the defensive side and delivered with a game changing third quarter. UCSD continued to key on the Lion’s Milutin Mitrovic, who was just named WWPA player of the week for the second consecutive week, and was rewarded by outscoring the Lions 4-1 in the period.
“Basically, we didn’t let him [Mitrovic] face the cage,” said Harper. “You can’t let a player like that face the cage and shoot. I think we did a great job on him and was very pleased with our field blocking tonight.”
While Ravanbach and the defense continued the solid effort, the offense was just as impressive in the third period. UCSD closed out the quarter on a three-goal run to head into the final period up 8-5. Jarvis and Ravanbach hooked up to deliver the go-ahead score before Andy Moore produced two beautiful assists to Chase Cockerill and Tommy Friedrich.
As the final quarter approached, LMU wouldn’t go down without a fight. After finding the back of the net a pair of times, Harper was forced to call a timeout with the score 10-7. The result was a score from Higginson, the recipient of a well drawn up play from Harper and the coaching staff. That score proved to be the final straw for LMU, as the Tritons closed out the 11-7 win.
“We made some mistakes late and at this time of the year, I usually let my players play through them. It’s something we must get better at, especially clock management. Overall though, I was very happy with how we played tonight. It was night-and-day compared to this weekend.”
The Tritons received a balanced scoring attack on the night, as Dietrich, Cockerill, Jarvis, Friedrich and Higginson each scored twice. Luca de Vivo tallied the last goal for UCSD.
Ravanbach recorded 12 saves in the win for UCSD. He moves into UCSD’s all-time career saves list at No. 10 with 374 blocks, surpassing assistant coach Glenn Busch’s mark of 371.
UCSD will be back in action this Friday and Saturday at Canyonivew. The Tritons take on Navy at 6 p.m. on Friday before facing No. 6 UCSB at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
UCSD 1 3 4 3 - 11
LMU 2 2 1 2 - 7
UCSD: Chase Cockerill 2, Joe Dietrich 2, Jeffrey Jarvis 2, Tommy Friedrich 2, David Higginson 2, Luca De Vivo 1
LMU: John Mikuzis 2, Emanuel Di Stasio 1, Peter Olson 1, Vuk Cvetkovic 1, Matt Stipanovich 1, Milutin Mitrovic 1
UCSD: Cameron Ravanbach 12
LMU: Kirk Wilenius 7