Men's Water Polo Rallies for 11-10 OT Win Over Pacific
Oct. 16, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. - Junior attacker Matthew DeTrane scored four goals and junior center Spencer Hamby notched the game-winner in overtime as the #8 Pepperdine men's water polo team held off #6 Pacific, 11-10, in the Waves' 2011 home opener on Sunday.
Sophomore goalie Bence Valics (Eger, Hungary) made 13 saves, including a game-ending block with five seconds left in the contest, to help the Waves improve to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Pacific, led by Tom Koning's four goals, dropped to 9-6, 0-1.
"Our entire focus has been on defense," Pepperdine Coach Jack Kocur said. "We've had a couple of games where we've come back and made it close in the end, like Cal and Stanford. But when you're trying to get back in games, it's your defense that has to be able to do that."
That was evident on Sunday, as the Waves battled back from a 5-2 halftime deficit. It was especially true in the fourth quarter and overtime, when the Pepperdine kept Pacific scoreless on five 6-on-5 opportunities.
"Our five-man defense has to be one of the best in the country right now," Kocur said. "We made 10 of 11 stops against UC Irvine on Friday and today we were eight of 12. We're keeping it below 30 percent, and we're loving that."
The Waves took early leads of 1-0 and 2-1 after goals by sophomore attacker Mike Tragitt (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) and senior attacker Brandon Picone (Morgan Hill, Calif./West Valley CC), but the Tigers then ran off four straight goals to go into halftime with a 5-2 lead.
Toward the end of the first period, Pacific's Balazs Szabo began things with a 6-on-4 goal and Daniel Lungu scored from distance. In the only goals of the second stanza, Goran Tomasevic hit a beautiful backhanded goal from the left side and Balazs Erdelyi converted a four-meter penalty.
DeTrane (Moraga, Calif./Diablo Valley CC) got the Waves going with two quick goals early in the third period, but Pacific still led 7-5 after three quarters.
But just like that, it was 7-7 less than a minute into the fourth period. Junior attacker Stephen Loomis (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo HS) and DeTrane both scored fast-break goals to even things up for the first time since late in the second quarter.
Koning hit a long shot for his third goal of the game to put Pacific back ahead with 5:38 to play, though DeTrane's fourth goal came on a 6-on-5 with five minutes left to make it 8-8.
Pacific went up in front again on a shot from distance by Szabo with 3:28 left, and then senior attacker Andrew Milcovich (Walnut Creek, Calif./De La Salle HS) tied the score at 9-9 with 3:01 to go as his shot bounced off the left post and into the back of the net. No more goals were scored in the final three minutes of regulation play.
Loomis' second goal of the game put Pepperdine ahead for the first time since it was 2-1. He cut into the 2-meter position, took a pass and quickly scored to give the Waves a 10-9 lead with 1:04 left in the first overtime. But Pacific tied the game for the sixth and final time as Koning found the back of the net from afar with three seconds left.
The Waves' defense shut down the Tigers in the second overtime period, however. After Hamby (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) scored from two meters with 1:48 to play, Pepperdine stopped Pacific on the Tigers' final possessions.
It was the third meeting of the season between the two schools and the second straight time it had gone to overtime. Though Pacific won the last outing, 11-9 in OT, the Waves have won two of the three matchups.
Next up for the Waves is a trip back to the Bay Area to meet California in an MPSF match on Friday (Oct. 21) and an appearance in the Santa Clara Tournament on Sunday (Oct. 23).
PEP (9-6, 2-1 MPSF) 2-0-3-4-1-1=11
Pacific Goals: Tom Koning 4, Balazs Szabo 2, Balazs Erdelyi 1, Daniel Lungu 1, Tyler Reardon 1, Goran Tomasevich 1.
Goalie Saves: Bence Valics (PEP) 13, Alex Malkis (Pacific) 13.