Heartbreaking Split at NorCal Open
Men's water polo earns a split in the opening day of the NorCal Open.
Sept. 18, 2010
BERKELEY, Calif. -- The eighth-ranked LMU men's water polo team earned a heartbreaking split in the first day of the 2010 NorCal Open hosted by Cal in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday. The Lions fell in sudden-death overtime to ninth-ranked Pepperdine, 8-7, to open the tournament, and then rebounded for a 13-6 win over conference foe Pomona-Pitzer.
With the split, the Lions improve to 5-3 on the season and remain a perfect 4-0 against Western Water Polo Association foes.
The opener for the Lions proved to be the game of the tournament so far as Pepperdine scored late in the first sudden-death overtime frame (player who scored the game winner was unknown).
It was a game typical of a rivalry like LMU-Pepperdine. It was a shutout early as the Waves took a 4-2 lead after the first period. However, LMU got a goal back by outscoring the Waves 3-2 in the second period. The Waves held a slim 6-5 lead heading into the second half.
Both defenses tightened, including goalie Andy Stevens who finished the game with a a season-high 15 saves. Stevens and the Lions defense posted a second half shutout and got a goal late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Stevens and the Lions' shutout defense continued through the first overtime period as niether team would score. Both, however, got on the board in the second overtime to force the game into the sudden-death overtime.
The Lions got goals from seven different players in the heartbreaker.
LMU then had to rebound quickly and came out sluggish agaisnt WWPA foe Pomona-Pitzer. The game was tied at 2-2 after one and the Lions held just a 5-4 lead at the break.
However, the second half defense for the Lions remained stellar, as they outscored Pomona-Pitzer 8-2 in the second half to extend their WWPA win streak to 35. Tibor Forai scored four goals in the win.
That streak will be put to test in the second day of the NorCal Open as the Lions will take on the 13th-ranked Broncos of Santa Clara at 10:40 a.m. The Lions will play in the consolation's championship bracket at Diablo Valley College. Also on that side of the bracket is No. 7 Long Beach State and No. 15 UC Davis.