Tigers beat ranked foes, win streak reaches seven
No. 4 men’s water polo won their seventh straight game this past weekend, improving to 19-2 on the season and remaining undefeated in Conference play. The Tigers faced No. 14 Bucknell on Friday and rival No. 2 USC on Sunday.
Pacific cruised through Friday’s matchup against the Bison, scoring seven of their 15 points in the first quarter. Attacker Alex Obert ’16 led the offensive assault, finding the net in the first minute of the game. Attacker Krisztian Laczkovics ’17 and utility Aleksandar Petrovic ’17 followed suit with goals of their own, putting the Tigers up by three.
Bucknell fired back, but Pacific quickly shut them down with three more consecutive goals. The Tigers made their statement early on, proving why they are a national title contender again this season.
Throughout the rest of the matchup, the Bison scored twice in each quarter; nevertheless, Pacific continued to top them in each pursuit. The Tigers scored all they needed by the end of the third quarter, sending them into victory mode in the final minutes. They outscored Bucknell, 15-8. Eleven members of the squad scored at least one goal, with attacker Devon Thumwood ’18 leading the way with a hat trick.
Pacific came into Sunday’s matchup with high energy after Friday’s win. In 2013, the Tigers beat the then No. 1 USC on their home turf but then fell to them in the NCAA
National Championship. As a result, playing the Trojans appears to be a heated rival matchup for the Tigers.
The game remained very close throughout, with the lead continuing to go back and forth. Nonetheless, Pacific maintained command, seemingly controlling the tempo of the game.
Petrovic led off the game, quickly getting Pacific on the board in the first quarter. The teams volleyed for a few minutes before USC tied up the game at one. On an assist from defender Casey Fleming ’16, Obert found the goal once again to give the Tigers the lead.
In the second quarter, the Trojans flexed their muscles and took the lead over Pacific. Attacker Ben Stevenson ’17 scored the lone goal for the Tigers in the second, trailing closely behind USC.
After the halftime break, Pacific came out firing with a quick goal from Laczkovics in the onset of the third. Thumwood followed suit a few minutes later, returning the lead to the Tigers. USC quickly answered, and the back and forth tug-of-war began.
In the final quarter, Petrovic scored an unassisted goal with less than seven minutes remaining. With nearly one minute left in the game, Thumwood gave Pacific the insurance it needed to steal the game. USC broke past the defense once more, but the damage was done. The Tigers took down a higher-ranked team once again!
Notably, goalkeeper Brady Moore ‘16 achieved MPSF Player of the week for his efforts over the weekend. On Friday, he tallied five saves in the first half, and on Sunday he posted 14 saves.
The Tigers set out on their final road trip of the season before the MPSF Conference Championship, and they return home on Saturday, Nov. 14 to host their last home game of the season. Pacific will face No. 8 Long Beach State at noon in Chris Kjeldsen Pool.
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