Lions' Title Run Ends in Classic 3OT Semifinal
Men's water polo saw their WWPA title run end in a dramatic, instant-classic semifinal to UC Davis.
Nov. 19, 2011
LA JOLLA, Calif. - It was a classic water polo showdown in the Western Water Polo Association Men's Championship semifinal from start to finish. And what a finish it was.
LMU saw their four-straight title run come to an end as UC Davis senior Aaron Salit scored with 11 seconds remaining in the second sudden death overtime period to lift the Aggies to a 7-6 win on Saturday afternoon at Canyonview Aquatic Center.
"It was a hard fought, classic water polo battle between two of the conference's best," said Head Coach John Loughran. "We should such poise down the stretch to send it to overtime and then to sudden death overtime. It's just a shame we were on the wrong end of it."
It was a defensive affair from the beginning and the Lions trailed 5-3 after Salit scored just 51 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Max Schlegel would score his second goal of the game on a 6-on-5 with 4:06 remaining to get the Lions to within a goal, 5-4. Then with 1:39 to play in regulation, the Lions Robert Pusic scored to tie the game. UC Davis drew a third ejection on first-team All-WWPA two-meter defender Jon Colton but failed to capitalize on the 6-on-5.
Neither team could score in the first of the two three-minute overtime periods.
Chris Richardson then put UC Davis up 6-5 with an extra-man attack goal 47 seconds into the overtime period. With time running out, the Lions drew an ejection on UC Davis to set-up a 6-on-5. Freshman Joe Ferretti would tie the game with just 18 seconds remaining to send the game to sudden death overtime.
"We did a good job in executing in drawing the exclusion and then we ran our 6-on-5 well to tie the game," said Loughran. "We just are extremely disappointed at home this came to an end."
Neither team would score and the Lions, thanks to four saves by Kyle Testman in the sudden death overtime, would fight off a UC Davis extra-man attack with 57 seconds left, setting up the final seconds.
The Lions will play Santa Clara or UC San Diego in the third place game at 12:30 p.m., Sunday.