6 Upsets, 5 Overtime Affairs Highlight WP Conference Championship Weekend

All six collegiate men’s water polo conferences crowned their respective tournament champions on Sunday. The winners, save that from the SCIAC, all earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships field, which will be announced late Sunday night.

A few milestones were reached on the weekend as Fordham’s Jake Miller-Tolt snapped the school season mark for goals, besting Ned Kelly’s record (112) from 1971 as the Rams lost to George Washington on Saturday.

Harvard head coach Ted Minnis notched his 200th career victory as the Crimson edged past rival Princeton for the Northeast Water Polo Conference Championship, a perfect 29-0 mark and a spot in the NCAA Championships.

The weekend also featured six upsets of ranked teams and five overtime affairs.

Upsets

  • RV Santa Clara def. #13 Loyola Marymount 11-10 OT – The Broncos boasted a slight 3-2 edge in the first quarter, but LMU knotted the score at five by halftime. The teams each put in four goals in the second half. In overtime, the Lions scored first care of Jonny Rimlinger (1:51), before Adam Low answered for Santa Clara (0:43). Mac Carey put in the game winner for the Broncos, his fifth goal of the game, with 2:35 to play in the second overtime. Blazo Mitrovic led LMU with a hat trick.
  • #7 Cal def. #1 USC 12-9 – Cal led 8-7 after three quarters, before sewing up the upset with four goals in the final stanza, while allowing just two. USC’s Jake Ehrhardt scored with 6:42 left to tie it up at 8. Cal’s Marko Valecic (5:23) and the Trojan’s Jacob Mercep (3:06 powerplay) traded goals to make it 9-all. Safak Simsek‘s penalty with 1:53 to play was the eventual game winner, although Jordan Hoover added two scores (2:06, 1:03) to ice the win. Hoover logged a hat trick for the Bears, while Ehhardt and Mercep did the same for the Trojans.
  • #8 Long Beach State def. #4 Pacific 13-12 – The 49ers wasted no time staking their claim on the game, going up 5-1 in the first six minutes. Austin Stewart put in two of those goals en route to a four-score effort. Down 11-8, Pacific rallied with four goals in the fourth quarter, but came up just short. Bogdan Djerkovic and Djordje Stanic scored in the rally. Stewart paced LBSU with four goals, while Eduardo Wainberg notched a hat trick. Stanic put in four goals to lead Pacific.
  • #18 George Washington def. #16 Fordham 9-5 – The Colonials held the Rams scoreless in the third quarter while going up 6-3. The advantage stood at three at 7-4 and then GW scored twice more to secure the win. Nick Schroeder, Andrew Mavis and Atakan Destici put in two goals each to lead GW, while Jake Miller-Tolt scored twice for Fordham.
  • Navy def. #16 Fordham 9-5 – The Midshipmen used goals from seven different players, including a hat trick from Trevor Clark, to score the upset over Fordham for third place in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Tournament. Navy led 6-2 early in the second half care of goals by Jake Altmayer and Cole Jacobs. The Rams were within two with eight minutes to play, but Trevor Clark put in two scores for Navy to put the game out of reach. Clark notched a hat trick, while Phillip Wang paced Fordham with two goals.
  • #6 UC Santa Barbara def. #4 Pacific 15-10 – The Gauchos put in five goals in each of the first two quarters to build a 10-8 halftime advantage. UCSB then outscored the Tigers 5-2 down the stretch to claim third place in the Golden Coast Conference and the upset. Nathan Puentes scored four times to pace the Gauchos, while Sam Nangle and Leo Yuno logged hat tricks. Jeremie Cote put in a team-best three goals for Pacific.

Overtime

  • RV Santa Clara def. #13 Loyola Marymount 11-10 OT
  • #13 San Jose State def. #15 UC Irvine 14-10 OT – A three-goal second quarter put the Spartans on top 5-4 at the half, but the Anteaters answered back with a 3-2 effort in the third period to make it 7-all. Both teams scored twice in the final stanza to send it to overtime. SJSU’s Justin Pickering and UCI’s Bryant Jourdie started the extra period with goals, but it was all Spartans from there. Finn Pardon and Adam Bado each added a goal in both the first and second overtime periods to clinch the 14-10 win. Pardon scored four times to lead SJSU, while four others managed two-goal efforts. Joudrie, Casey Lynton and Jason Evezard scored twice each for UCI.
  • #5 Pepperdine def. #6 UC Santa Barbara 10-9 OT – The Gauchos led 6-5 after three quarters, but Pepperdine outscored them 2-1 in the fourth care of two goals by Sean Thomas (4:14, 1:55) to send the game to overtime tied at 7. Thomas scored on a powerplay with 2:27 to go in the first extra stanza, but Adam Lott leveled the score (2:05). Balazs Kosa (1:39) and Sean Ferrari (0:28) made it 10-8 Waves. Ivan Gvozdanovic had UCSB within one with 13 seconds left in the second overtime, but it was not enough. Kosa and Thomas each turned in hat tricks for Pepperdine, while Gvozdanovic, Mason Chambliss and Cole Brosnan each scored twice for UC Santa Barbara.
  • #1 Stanford def. #3 UCLA 16-15 OT – The Bruins led 8-6 at the half, before Stanford pour on six goals in the third quarter to grab a 12-10 advantage. Bennett Williams and Larsen Weigle each put in two goals as the Cardinal took the lead. Williams made it 13-10 early in the fourth, but UCLA outscored the Stanford 4-2 to force overtime. Stanford scored twice in the first extra period as Tyler Abramson (2:22) and Williams (0:22) found the back of the net. Nicolas Saveljic managed UCLA’s lone goal in extra time with four seconds left in the second overtime. Seven players scored for Stanford led by Williams (4) and Abramson (3). Saveljic scored a match-high five goals for UCLA, while Tommy Gruwell added four.
  • Brown def. St. Francis Brooklyn 19-18 OT – The Terriers led 10-7 at the half, before the Bears rallied to tie it up at 12 with eight minutes remaining. The 5-2 fourth-quarter run included goals from five different Brown players. James Thygesen and Leo Berkman scored to put the Bears up 14-13 with 5:53 to play. St. Francis turned the tables to go ahead 15-14 with 1:57 left, but Armen Deirmenjian knotted the score with 1:06 to go to force overtime. In extra time, Brown went up 18-16, but the Terriers once again drew level. Deirmenjian dropped in a goal with 16 seconds left to seal the win. Berkman scored five times, while Deirmenjian and Thygesen each notched a hat trick.

Golden Coast Conference

#5 Pepperdine won the GCC tournament title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 14-12 victory over #8 Long Beach State in the championship match.

The title marked the first GCC crown and automatic NCAA berth for the Waves since 1997.

The Waves had a bye to the semifinals as the #2 seed and squeaked past #6 UC Santa Barbara in 10-9 in overtime to make the title game.

Balazs Kosa put in four goals in the final as the Waves rallied from down 5-4 to go ahead 9-6 at the half. The 49ers outscored Pepperdine 6-4 in the second half, but came up short. Austin Stewart scored four times to pace Long Beach State.

courtesy Jeff Golden, Pepperdine Athletics

Nov. 22 GCC Tournament (Malibu, California)
Game 1: #3 seed UC Santa Barbara vs. #6 seed UC Irvine UC Santa Barbara 13-9
Game 2: #4 seed Long Beach State vs. #5 seed San Jose State Long Beach State 8-4
Nov. 23 Game 3: UC Irvine vs. San Jose State San Jose State 14-10 OT
Game 4, Semifinal #1: #3 seed UC Santa Barbara vs. #2 seed Pepperdine Pepperdine 10-9 OT
Game 5: Semifinal #2: #4 seed Long Beach State vs. #1 seed Pacific Long Beach State 13-12
Nov. 24 Game 6, Third Place: UC Santa Barbara vs. Pacific UC Santa Barbara 15-10
Game 7, Championship: Pepperdine vs. Long Beach State Pepperdine 14-12

Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference

#13 Bucknell bested #18 George Washington 9-4 for the MAWPC title, avenging its 2018 title match loss to the Colonials (12-11 OT).

On Sunday, the regular season champion and #1 seed, captured the title in front of its home crowd in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania behind a hat trick by Logan Schofield. The championship marks the first for the Bison since 2016 and earns the team is seventh NCAA Tournament berth.

Bucknell scored the first three goals of the game and led 4-1 at the half en route to an 8-2 advantage midway through the third quarter, before holding on for the win.

Logan Schofield paced the Bison with a hat trick, while Andras Levai put in three goals for GW.

courtesy Bucknell Athletics

Nov. 22 Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championships
Game 1: #1 seed Bucknell vs. #8 seed La Salle Bucknell 13-10
Game 2: #4 seed Navy vs. #5 seed Wagner Navy 16-12
Game 3: #2 seed Fordham vs. #7 seed Gannon Fordham 16-11
Game 4: #3 seed George Washington vs. #6 seed Johns Hopkins George Washington 17-9
Nov. 23 Game 5: Wagner vs. La Salle Wagner 15-13
Game 6: Johns Hopkins vs. Gannon Johns Hopkins 17-13
Game 7: Bucknell vs. Navy Bucknell 6-5
Game 8: Fordham vs. George Washington George Washington 9-5
Nov. 24 Game 9, Seventh Place: LaSalle vs. Gannon Gannon 15-9
Game 10, Fifth Place: Wagner vs. Johns Hopkins Wagner 14-11
Game 11, Third Place: Fordham vs. Navy Navy 9-5
Game 12, Championship: Bucknell vs. George Washington Bucknell 9-4

MPSF

#1 Stanford edged past #3 UCLA in 16-15 overtime on Saturday to earn a spot in the final against tournament host #7 Cal. Once in the championship match, the Cardinal won 17-11 as Tyler Abramson put in four goals and Quinn Woodhead notched a hat trick.

The title is Stanford’s second straight and seventh overall.

The Cardinal led 10-6 at the half with a balanced offensive attack. Down 13-6 in the third quarter, Cal rallied to within three (13-10), before coming up short.

courtesy Catharyn Hayne, Stanford Athletics

Nov. 22 MPSF Championships (Berkeley, California)
Seeding Match: Penn State Behrend vs. Austin College Austin College 10-9
Game 1: #3 seed UCLA vs. Penn State Behrend UCLA 27-4
Game 2: #4 seed Cal vs. Austin College Cal 22-3
Nov. 23 Game 3: #1 seed USC vs. Cal Cal 12-9
Game 4: #2 seed Stanford vs. UCLA Stanford 16-15 OT
Nov. 24 Game 5, Fifth Place: Penn State Behrend vs. Austin College Penn State Behrend 8-7
Game 6, Third Place: USC vs. UCLA USC 10-6
Game 7, Championship: Cal vs. Stanford Stanford 17-11

Northeast Water Polo Conference

#9 Harvard continued its perfect season (29-0), defeating St. Francis Brooklyn and #19 Princeton to claim the NWPC crown. The Crimson downed the Terriers 15-9 on Saturday before edging past rival Princeton 8-7 in Sunday’s title match.

The championship match win gave head coach Ted Minnis his 200th career victory and also earned Harvard a spot in the NCAA Championships. The title is the Crimson’s third in the last four years. Princeton topped Harvard 12-10 in the 2018 final. It also marked the first time the top seeded team had ever won the NWPC championship title.

On Sunday, Harvard trailed 4-2 but rallied with three goals, the last by Alexandru Bucur to boast a 5-4 halftime lead. Princeton regained the advantage at 6-5 and again at 7-6, but the Crimson scored the last two goals of the game. The game winner came on a penalty by Alex Tsotadze. Tsotadze and Jackson Enright led Harvard with two goals apiece, while Keller Maloney and Yurian Quinones notched two scores each to pace Princeton.

courtesy Harvard Athletics

Nov. 22 Northeast Water Polo Conference Championship (Cambridge, Mass.)
Game 1: #5 seed MIT vs. #4 seed St. Francis Brooklyn St. Francis Brooklyn 18-8
Game 2: #3 seed Brown vs. #6 seed Iona Brown 13-11
Nov. 23 Game 3: MIT vs. Iona MIT 16-6
Game 4: #1 seed Harvard vs. St. Francis Brooklyn Harvard 15-9
Game 5: #2 seed Princeton vs. Brown Princeton 16-10
Nov. 24 Game 6, Third Place: Brown vs. St. Francis Brooklyn Brown 19-18 OT
Game 7, Championship: Harvard vs. Princeton Harvard 8-7

Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

RV Whittier topped Redlands 12-7 in the semifinals before squeaking past Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 13-12 in the championship match. This marks the Poets’ first SCIAC title since going back to back in 2013 and 2014.

CMS led 3-2 after two powerplay goals in the opening quarter, but Whittier outscored the Stags 5-4 in the second stanza to knot the score at 7. Maxwell Murphy and Hans Zdolsek scored in the second minute of the third quarter to put Whittier on top and Cornelis Kriek chipped in a powerplay score to make it 10-7. Up 10-9 with eight minutes to go, Murphy and Dominick Nevarez gave the Poets much needed breathing room. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps scored three of the final four goals, but a Paul Pittion score with 1:26 to play proved to be the game winner for Whittier.

Murphy turned a hat trick in the game, while eight other players chipped in scores for Whittier. Christian Thorton notched five goals for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, including the final two scores of the game.

Both teams will advance to the first USA Water Polo Division III Championship on Dec. 7-8. Johns Hopkins and MIT will round out the four-team field.

Courtesy SCIAC

Nov. 22 SCIAC Tournament
Semifinal 1: Redlands at Whittier Whittier 12-7
Semifinal 2: Pomona-Pitzer at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 12-11
Nov. 24 Final: Whittier vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Whittier 13-12

Western Water Polo Conference

#10 UC Davis bested #11 UC San Diego 14-5 to claim the 2019 WWPA tournament crown, avenging an 11-10 loss to the Tritons in the 2018 title match.

The Aggies claim their third title in the last four years and the WWPA’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.

UC Davis went up 2-0 early, only to see UCSD tie it up at 3-all with 7:04 left in the second quarter. From there, the Aggies cruised to an 8-3 halftime lead and an 11-3 advantage before allowing another Triton score with 1:42 to play in the third period.

Max Somple, Yurii Hanley, Nir Gross, Spencer Towill and Kyle Reilly put in two goals apiece to pace nine UC Davis scorers. Karlo Krmek notched two scores to lead UCSD.

courtesy UC Davis Athletics

Nov. 22 WWPA Championship (Riverside, California)
Game 1: #8 seed Fresno Pacific vs. #1 seed UC Davis UC Davis 21-3
Game 2: #5 seed Concordia (Irvine) vs. #4 seed Cal Baptist Cal Baptist 12-6
Game 3: #7 seed Air Force vs. #2 seed UC San Diego UC San Diego 14-10
Game 4: #6 seed Santa Clara vs. #3 Loyola Marymount Santa Clara 11-10 OT
Nov. 23 Game 5, Seventh Place: Fresno Pacific vs. Air Force Air Force 14-5
Game 6, Fifth Place: Loyola Marymount vs. Concordia (Irvine) Loyola Marymount 21-10
Game 7, Semifinal #1: UC Davis vs. Cal Baptist UC Davis 14-9
Game 8, Semifinal #2: UC San Diego vs. Santa Clara UC San Diego 7-6
Nov. 24 Game 9, Third Place: Cal Baptist vs. Santa Clara Cal Baptist 12-10
Game 10, Championship: UC Davis vs. UC San Diego UC Davis 14-5

 

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West Coast Swammer

Lots of crazy upsets and narrow victories. Looking forward to seeing who gets the at-large NCAA bids. Fingers crossed for UCSB and UCLA – both held the #1 spot at some point this season.