SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The second-seeded and 14th-ranked University of California San Diego men’s water polo team could not overcome a 7-2 halftime deficit and fell to top-seeded and eighth-ranked UC Davis, 12-8, in the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championship title game, Sunday at Sullivan Aquatic Center.
UCSD concludes the 2016 season at 15-8 overall. The Aggies improve to 23-5.
UC Davis was led by Riley Venne’s three scores. Ido Goldschmidt, Cory Laidig and Tennyson May had two apiece. Aggie goalie Spencer Creed had five stops.
UCSD allowed three straight Aggie goals and fell behind 3-0 to start the game. Asplund answered the call with a skip shot from outside five meters to cut the margin to two. UC Davis was able to score on a six-on-five with four seconds left, as the Tritons trailed 4-1 at the end of the first.
UC Davis opened up to a 6-1 lead with two unanswered scores to start the second. Momdzhyan closed the gap to four with an assist from freshman Skyler Munatones on a power play. Laidig put one away for the Aggies right before the buzzer as the UCSD went into halftime with a 7-2 deficit.
Both teams traded one goal each in the third. Momdzhyan scored one from the post and UC Davis got one in with 24 seconds left in the quarter. UCSD went into the final period down 8-3.
Asplund scored 24 seconds into the fourth with a cross-cage shot to make it an 8-4 game. The Aggies fired back with one on their next possession to bring their lead back to five. The Tritons scored two straight from Hmeidan and Asplund to close within three, 9-6. UC Davis scored right after a Triton goal once again to go up by four. Momdzhyan brought it back to three with a redirect shot from senior Nick Alexander. The Aggies put the game away with two straight goals. Momdzhyan found the back of the cage with 14 seconds left to account for the final score.
For their efforts Momdzhyan, Turner and Alexander were named to the WWPA All-Tournament Team. Momdzhyan and Turner picked up first team honors and Alexander was placed on the second team.
UCSD will graduate four seniors in Alexander, Hmeidan, Jack Ellinthorpe and Andy Moore. The Tritons will return All-WWPA First Team honoree in Momdzhyan All-WWPA Honorable Mentions in Turner and sophomore Cole Martinez as well as WWPA Freshman of the Year Skyler Munatones.
UC Davis 12, UC San Diego 8
UCSD 1 1 1 5 - 8
UCD 4 3 1 4 - 12
UCD: Riley Venne 3, Ido Goldschmidt 2, Cory Laidig 2, Tennyson May 2, Eric Martel 1, Marcus Anderson 1, Sasa Antunovic 1
UCSD: Jack Turner 10
UCD: Spencer Creed 5