Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Skyler Munatones had three goals, two steals and an assist.

No. 12 UC San Diego Earns 16-9 Win Over Santa Clara in First Round of WWPA Championship


LA JOLLA, Calif. - A strong second half catapulted the 12th-ranked and second-seeded University of California San Diego men’s water team over seventh-seeded Santa Clara by a score of 16-9 in the first round of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championship Friday at Canyonview Aquatic Center.

With the win, UCSD improves its overall record to 10-13. The Tritons will take on California Baptist, the tourney's third seed, in a semifinal Saturday at 5:45 p.m.

Freshman Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt led the Tritons with four goals. Sophomores Skyler Munatones and Cooper Milton each completed a hat trick, scoring three goals apiece.

Defensively, junior goalkeeper Sam Thompson made eight saves and grabbed one steal. As a team, UCSD notched 16 steals, with junior Kevin Asplund collecting a team-best four.

The Tritons used seven goals in the third frame to pull away, outscoring SCU 9-4 in the second half to seal their first win of the weekend.

UCSD jumped out to a quick start, taking a 3-0 lead with goals from Munatones, senior Arman Momdzhyan and junior Carson Ivancovich. Patrick Kirk put the Broncos on the board with 1:34 left in the first quarter.

The Tritons scored two-straight to open the second frame before SCU answered with a goal from Luca Pagano. A brutality call against Momdzhyan gave the Broncos a dead ball penalty shot followed by a 6-on-5 situation. SCU capitalized on both opportunities and made it a 7-5 game at the half. Momdzhyan will serve a two-game suspension as the result of the call. 

With Momdzhyan out of the game, the UCSD defense stepped up, holding the Broncos to four goals in the second half. Turnbow-Lindenstadt completed his hat trick in the third quarter, scoring back-to-back goals followed by junior Alessandro Valania adding two-straight to give the Tritons a 14-8 lead after the third frame.

Milton and sophomore Kacper Langiewicz each tallied a goal in the fourth frame to give UCSD a seven-goal victory.

Kirk led the Broncos in scoring with three goals while goalkeeper Emil Huebner made two saves.

The Broncos dropped to 7-16 with the loss.  

In Friday's first quarterfinal, top seed UC Davis earned a convincing 22-7 victory over eighth-seeded Fresno Pacific. California Baptist cruised to a 15-9 win over sixth-seeded Loyola Marymount. In the night cap, No. 5 Air Force topped fourth-seeded Concordia Irvine by a score of 15-10.

Saturday, November 18
Game 5: No. 6 Loyola Marymount vs. No. 7 Santa Clara - 11:00 a.m.
Game 6: No. 4 Concordia Irvine vs. No. 8 Fresno Pacific - 12:45 p.m
Game 7 (semifinal): No. 1 UC Davis vs. No. 5 Air Force - 4:00 p.m.
Game 8 (semifinal): No. 2 UC San Diego vs. No. 3 California Baptist  - 5:45 p.m.

UC San Diego 16, Santa Clara 9
UC San Diego        3          4          7         2    -    16       
Santa Clara           1          4          3         1    -    9   

UCSD: Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt 4, Skyler Munatones 3, Cooper Milton 3, Alessandro Valania 2, Kacper Langiewicz, Jack Ranj, Carson Ivancovich, Arman Momdzhyan

SCU: Patrick Kirk 3, Scott Zurnacian 2, Luca Pagano, Reilley May, John Raineri, Shane Hughes.

UCSD: Sam Thompson 8

SCU: Emil Huebner 2


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