Oct. 15, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
Top-ranked Stanford men's water polo's second-half comeback fell just short Saturday as the Cardinal dropped a 7-6 decision to No. 3 UCLA at Avery Aquatic Center.
Stanford took an early 1-0 lead but was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way after UCLA scored four of the next five goals. The Cardinal would even things up on three occasions, but the Bruins (12-3, 2-1 MPSF) had the final say on Griffin White's goal, his third of the game, with 4:07 remaining. Stanford would earn a 6-on-5 opportunity with 37 seconds remaining and a chance to equalize, but a miscommunication led to a pass being stolen with 25 seconds left and UCLA was able to run out the clock.
The Cardinal (9-3, 2-1 MPSF) continues MPSF play next Friday, Oct. 21, traveling to Stockton to take on Pacific at 3 p.m. Stanford's weekend continues with four games at Santa Clara for the Bronco Stampede Saturday and Sunday.
Freshman Alex Bowen scored three times in the contest. Senior Jacob Smith netted twice and Forrest Watkins scored a goal. Defensively, Brian Pingree made seven saves.
Things started off well for the Cardinal Saturday, as Smith found the back of the cage just 1:29 into the contest for the early 1-0 lead. The Cardinal defense began tough, allowing just one UCLA shot over the opening six minutes, but the Bruins would break through on Brett Hays' goal with 1:45 to go in the frame.
The Cardinal would hamper its own chances late in the frame, as UCLA's Paul Reynolds snuck a lob over the hands of Pingree with nine seconds remaining to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
Bowen equalized for the Cardinal two minutes into the second period, but four minutes later Josh Samuels put UCLA back in front. And in a repeat of the closing moments of the first period, the Bruins scored on another lob shot, this time from White as time expired to give UCLA a 4-2 halftime advantage.
Stanford fought back in the third period, breaking through on consecutive power plays halfway through the frame. Each time, it was Bowen registering the goal on the same play, walking in from the point to score from about five meters.
UCLA would retake the lead off the arm of White with 1:55 to go in the period, but this time it was Stanford's turn to strike in the final seconds, as Watkins netted home with five seconds to go.
The teams traded goals one more time in the fourth period, until White got open at the far post on a Bruins power play and converted the go-ahead score. Stanford would fight off a 6-on-5 in the final minutes, and earned a power play of its own with 37 seconds remaining, but a bad pass on the perimeter led to UCLA making the steal that sealed the win.
UCLA - 2 2 1 2 = 7
Stanford - 1 1 3 1 = 6
Stanford Goal Scorers: Bowen 3, Smith 2, Watkins
UCLA Goal Scorers: White 3, Samuels 2, Hays, Reynolds
Goalie Saves: Pingree 7 (S); Rapacz 5 (UCLA)