Men's Water Polo Can't Get Past Equalizer
Lions fall to No. 1 UC Davis in WWPA Semifinal, managing multiple ties but never getting go-ahead goal.
Nov. 23, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. -- In a back-and-forth affair in the first semifinal of the 2013 Western Water Polo Association Championships, LMU fell behind, got the equalizer multiple times but could never get that go ahead goal, falling to host UC Davis 9-7 at Schaal Aquatics Center Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Milutin Mitrovic hit a hat trick for the Lions while Emanuel DiStasio added another two goals. LMU scored all but one of its goals on either 6-on-5 chances or five-meter penalty shots, tying the game on two occasions in the second quarter but never pulling ahead.
WWPA Player of the Year Bernie Rogers scoring two of his three goals in the third quarter to held UC Davis stay ahead for good.
Rogers hit the game's opener out of two meters, converting an assist from sophomore Austin Beckwith with 5:10 to go. Senior Tyler Elliott made it 2-0 with his counterattack at the 2:38 mark. Matt Cuozzo put LMU on the board on the following possession, then sophomore Seth Coldren equalized with his power-play goal two minutes into the second. The two teams locked up at 3-3 on goals by Beckwith for UC Davis and Di Stasio for LMU before Aggie freshman Max Vigeant muscled his way to a two-meter goal in the final minute before halftime.
Elliott struck again with a long skip shot at 5:19 in the third to put UC Davis up to a 5-3 lead. Each team traded goals for the remainder of the third, allowing the Aggies an 8-6 edge entering the final period. UC Davis ran into foul trouble late in the contest, with key scorers Rogers, Beckwith, Chris Richardson and Trevor Allen each holding two exclusions by the 4:42 mark in the fourth. Mitrovic hit his team's first natural goal to cut the lead to 8-7 with 3:38 to go, blazing a missile past the hands of Allen and goalkeeper Philip Bates.
Each team took scoreless trips down the course until just under a minute left. Junior Teddy Nicholson teamed up with Bates for a steal at two meters. Then on the opposite end, Nicholson beat two Lion defenders down low, firing a shot into the high left corner for his team's ninth goal. LMU turned the ball over on its final trip down, and Bates protected the ball through the final seconds.
Bates finished with 12 saves in front of the Aggie cage while his counterpart, redshirt freshman Kirk Wilenius, recorded 11 on the LMU end.
The Lions will face Santa Clara in the consolation final on Sunday at 12:15 pm.