LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Despite holding a four-goal advantage after the first quarter, the thirteenth-ranked University of California San Diego men’s water polo team dropped a heartbreaking 15-14 decision to twelfth-ranked Princeton on the final day of the Mountain Pacific Invitational, Sunday at Burns Aquatics Center.
UC San Diego finished the weekend 1-3 and falls to 4-10 on the season. Princeton improved to 9-3 overall. The Tritons finished the MPSF Invite in 12th-place while the Tigers took 11th-place.
UCSD trailed by two with three minutes remaining in the game before freshman Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt made back-to-back goals on powerplays to knot the game at 14 with 33 seconds remaining. It looked like the game would head into overtime but the Tigers’ Jordan Colina made the game-winning shot with 12 seconds left. The Tritons’ drew two ejections in the final three seconds but were unable to covert them into a goal. Turnbow-Lindestadt had a last second shot but it was saved by the PU goal keeper.
The game saw four ties and UCSD remained in the lead until PU scored three unanswered goals in the third quarter. The Tritons held a 35-33 advantage in shots and went 5-for-12 on powerplays.
UCSD had six goals in the first frame and led 8-6 at the half. Gelnak and Momdzhyan each tallied two goals in the first 16 minutes.
Junior Sam Thompson made nine saves in goal while the Tigers’ Mitrovic had 11 stops.
"Our games over the years with Princeton have always been very entertaining. Today's game was no exception," said head coach Denny Harper. "We got off to a great start but we were unable to sustain the momentum. By around half time the game had pretty much settled into a typical back and forth contest. We are disappointed that we lost but overall it was a much better performance for us and I anticipate it will be a game we look back on as a jump start to coming together and playing better polo".
Fourth-ranked UCLA won the tournament after defeating No. 2 USC by a score of 13-11 in the championship game.
Next, the Tritons return home to host Loyola Marymount Wednesday, September 27th at 6 p.m.
Princeton 15, UC San Diego 14
Princeton 2 4 4 5 - 15
UCSD 6 2 2 4 - 14
PU: Michael Swart 4, Jordan Colina 3, Sean Duncan 2, Ryan Wilson 2, Christoper Xi, Alex Mendelsohn, Logan MacDonell, Miles Cole.
UCSD: Sam Thompson 9
PU: Mitrovic 11