Men's Water Polo Rallies to Beat Pacific for 7th at NorCal Tournament
Sept. 16, 2012
PALO ALTO, Calif. - The #8 Pepperdine men's water polo team finished up the NorCal Tournament in fine fashion, scoring the final six goals of the game to defeat #7 Pacific, 11-7, in the seventh-place game on Sunday.
The Waves (5-2) had lost to #5 UC Santa Barbara, 8-4, earlier in the day but bounced back nicely against the Tigers behind a four-goal effort by senior attacker Stephen Loomis (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo HS) and 15 saves by junior goalie Bence Valics (Eger, Hungary).
Pepperdine trailed Pacific 4-2 after the first quarter, 5-3 at halftime and 7-5 in the third quarter, but then evened things up at 7-7 by the end of the period and scored all four goals of the fourth quarter.
Loomis also was the top scorer in the morning with two of the Waves' four goals against UCSB. He scored multiple goals in all four games and led all Pepperdine players with 10 over the course of the weekend, in which Pepperdine went 2-2, all against teams ranked among the nation's top nine.
Valics had 15 saves in both games on Sunday and averaged a remarkable 15.5 saves over the four contests, including 21 in the Waves' opening-day win against Long Beach State.
"We came back against Pacific thanks to the great play of Bence in the cage," Pepperdine interim co-head coach William Rodriguez said. "His 15 saves fed into our counterattack, and that changed the momentum of the game. In the second half, we started getting some defensive stops and that started feeding into our offense. Bence tipped a penalty, and the guys responded really well to that kind of energy."
The Waves will play an exhibition against Long Beach City College next Saturday (Sept. 22) at Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool at 11 a.m., and then the following weekend (Sept. 29-30) it's another big event with the SoCal Tournament hosted by UC Santa Barbara.
"We absolutely feel good about this weekend," Rodriguez said. "We're seeing a lot of improvement from our veterans and our young players. We still have things to work on but we look forward to getting better."