Bears, Cardinal Men Defeat USC, UCLA Tops Stanford At Avery Aquatic Center

Courtesy: Cal Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. – The No. 1 California men’s water polo team opened the weekend with a win, taking down No. 4 USC, 10-7, Saturday afternoon at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center. With the victory, the Bears (6-2, 6-2 MPSF) extended their win steak to four and claimed the regular-season series against the Trojans, 3-1.

Cal took an early lead in the match, outscoring USC, 3-2, in the first quarter. USC (3-6, 2-6) scored three goals in the second quarter to head into halftime with a slight 5-4 advantage. The Bears then went on a scoring burst in the third quarter, when sophomore Nikolaos Papanikolaou scored three of his four goals back-to-back as Cal re-took the lead and did not relinquish it for the remainder of the match.

Papanikolaou’s four goals led the Bears, and the native of Greece added four steals in the effort. Freshman Alika Naone also finished with a hat trick, scoring three and adding one steal. Jack Deely recorded two goals and an assist to finish the day with three points.

Goalkeeper Adrian Weinberg remains undefeated in the cage this season, improving his record to 6-0 with the win. The sophomore had 13 saves (65 percent) against the Trojans’ offense.

USC’s Jake Earhardt was the only Trojan to score multiple goals in the match, netting two.

The Bears continue their final weekend of regular-season play Sunday, taking on No. 2 UCLA at 10 a.m. before matching up against No. 3 Stanford in the Cardinal’s home pool at 6:30 p.m. Fans can follow both matches via live stats as posted on the schedule, and the evening match will be streamed via a Stanford live stream. Fans can receive additional in-game updates and behind-the-scenes information all season long by following the Bears’ social media accounts (Twitter: @CalWaterPolo, Instagram: @CalMWaterPolo).

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. — No. 2 UCLA (6-3, 5-3 MPSF) used a balanced scoring effort to pull off an 11-10 victory over No. 3 Stanford (1-3, 1-3 MPSF) on Saturday morning at Avery Aquatic Center. The Bruins had six different players score, including three players with multiple goals. Senior Nicolas Saveljic led the way with four goals on the morning, following his eight-goal performance against the Cardinal in the last meeting.

Freshman Mo Kenney got the Bruins on the board first with a power play goal (4:44). The Cardinal jumped out to a 2-1 lead after two quick goals, including a 5-meter penalty shot from Tyler Abramson and an even strength goal from AJ Rossman. Senior Chasen Travisano answered with a weak-side goal (1:27) to tie things up, before Stanford scored again to head into the second quarter up 3-2.

The Cardinal took a two-goal lead early in the second frame, but junior Jake Cavano fired off of an ordinary foul (5:38) to cut the deficit to 3-4. Redshirt freshman Jack Larsen capitalized on a near-side goal during a man-up opportunity (3:16) to knot it up again, but Stanford answered with a goal of its own to take a 5-4 lead into the break.

Cavano opened the scoring in the third (7:38) with his second goal of the game that tied it up at 5-5. Saveljic’s first goal came on a power play (3:36) that put the Bruins back in front, 6-5. After Stanford tied it on a penalty shot, Saveljic found the back of the net again (2:04) with a strike from the front court. Riley Pittman scored on a power play for the Cardinal (1:05) to send the game into the fourth quarter all tied up at 7-7.

UCLA scored the first three goals of the fourth quarter to pull away from the Cardinal. Kenney scored his second of the game at even strength (7:26) and then Saveljic completed his hat trick (5:30). Saveljic’s fourth goal came on a penalty shot (3:34) and game the Bruins a 10-7 advantage. After Quinn Woodhead scored for Stanford, redshirt junior Evan Rosenfeld scored a power play goal (2:48) to make it 11-8, that would prove to be the game-winner. The Cardinal got a power play goal from Larsen Weigle (1:35) and a counter score from Abramson (0:42) to trim the Bruins’ lead to 11-10. Stanford also got a steal and had the ball for the final 0:17 of the game, but failed to get a shot off.

Sophomore Bernardo Maurizi led the way for UCLA’s defensive effort, logging 10 saves on the game.

Nolan Krutonog registered seven saves for Stanford, which was led in scoring by Abramson’s hat trick.

The Bruins will return to action tomorrow when they take on No. 1 California for a fourth time this season on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 a.m. PT.

No. 2 UCLA at No. 3 Stanford (Avery Aquatic Center)

No. 2 UCLA 2 2 3 4 11
No. 3 Stanford 3 2 2 3 10

6×5 – UCLA – 2/9 – STAN – 3/8
Penalties – UCLA – 1/1 – STAN – 2/3

STAN Goals: Tyler Abramson 3, Jackson Painter 2, AJ Rossman 1, Ethan Parrish 1, Quinn Woodhead 1, Riley Pittman 1, Larsen Weigle 1
STAN Saves: Nolan Krutonog 7

UCLA Goals: Nicolas Saveljic 4, Mo Kenney 2, Jake Cavano 2, Evan Rosenfeld 1, Jack Larsen 1, Chasen Travisano 1
UCLA Saves: Bernardo Maurizi 10

Courtesy: Stanford Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. – Playing at Avery Aquatic Center for the first time in 15 months, Stanford split on home-opening day, closing with a 15-9 victory over USC after falling to UCLA, 11-10, on Saturday.

No. 3 Stanford (2-3 overall, 2-3 MPSF) earned its second six-goal victory over the Trojans, after a 14-8 victory on Feb. 6 in the Cardinal’s season opener, at USC. Before this year, Stanford hadn’t beaten USC by as large of a margin since a 17-7 rout in 1994.

Tyler AbramsonBeck Jurasius, and AJ Rossman each scored a hat trick over the No. 4 Trojans (3-7, 2-7).

Jackson Painter ignited a 4-0 run that bridged the half, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 7-4 lead. In the second and third quarters, Stanford outscored USC, 10-3. Among the Cardinal goals, Larsen Weigle snuck in a shot inside the near post from a poor angle on the left for an 8-5 lead, and Jurasius muscled in a close-range shot despite tight defense, to make it 14-8.

Abramson and Jurasius lead Stanford in scoring with 10 goals apiece, Ethan Parrish is next with eight, followed by Quinn Woodhead with seven.

Stanford is playing host to a two-day four-team Mountain Pacific Sports Federation round-robin event that will close the conference season. This competition consists of the top four teams in the CWPA coaches’ poll, all battling for seeds in the MPSF tournament, on March 5-7 at UCLA. This is the third such round-robin weekend, which substitutes for the regular season home-and-home contests.

Sunday’s schedule will be No. 1 Cal against No. 2 UCLA at 10 a.m., Cal against USC at 1 p.m., and Stanford against Cal at 6:30 p.m.

UCLA 11, Stanford 10

No. 3 Stanford cut a three-goal fourth-quarter deficit to one, when Abramson fired into the cage from the center of the UCLA defense with 41 seconds left. Abramson then forced a Bruin turnover, giving Stanford possession and a chance to tie in the final 15 seconds, but the Cardinal was unable to get off a shot.

No. 2 UCLA (5-3, 4-3) scored three unanswered goals at the outset of the fourth quarter to break a 7-7 tie. But Stanford held the Bruins scoreless over the final 2:48.

Weigle snuck in a shot at the left post with 1:35 left and Abramson followed, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the defending NCAA champion Cardinal from losing its third straight.

Abramson scored three goals and assisted on another, and teammate Jackson Painter scored twice. Freshman Nolan Krutonog, in his first collegiate start, had seven saves including a great save with his right hand at close range in the second quarter.

Stanford’s previous home game was on Nov. 16, 2019, when the Cardinal closed out the regular season with a 17-11 victory over UCLA.

Courtesy: USC Athletics

STANFORD, CALIF. — The No. 4 USC men’s water polo team suffered two MPSF losses today at the Stanford Round Robin. The Trojans led in both, but lost ground, taking a 10-7 loss to No. 1 California and then a 15-9 loss at No. 3 Stanford. USC is now 3-7 overall and 2-7 in MPSF competition.
USC had a strong second period as its defense was stingy and its offense drummed up goals from Tom McGuire — the freshman’s first as a Trojan — and Orestis Apergial before Jacob Mercep drilled on to get USC ahead 5-4 but halftime. Cal made a second-half surge, scoring five straight goals across the third and fourth frames to wrest control from the Trojans. USC had led 5-4 at halftime and was up 6-5 in the third on a backhand ripper from Max Miller, but the Bears fired back and worked out ahead 10-6 before USC snapped 11 minutes of scoring silence with Jake Ehrhardt’s second blast of the day. That made it 10-7, and USC could get no closer in the final minute as Cal emerged with the win. USC goalie Nic Porter was a force to reckon with throughout, with two of his 14 saves coming against Cal 5-meter penalty shot attempts.
In the night game, USC again made a good early showing, taking a 2-0 lead on goals from Mercep and later leading it 4-3 in the second after Ehrhardt and Marcus Longton found the back of the net. Longton’s 6-on-5 finish off a setup from Carson Kranz got USC that one-goal advantage, only to see Stanford convert back-to-back 6-on-5 opportunities and then get a long one to go before halftime to take the Cardinal ahead 6-4 at the break. Stanford would come up with six goals in the third period to spell doom for the Trojans, who got goals from Max Miller and Ehrhardt while the Cardinal moved ahead 12-6 entering the fourth. There, the teams went goal-for-goal as Stanford held on to win it 15-9.
Tomorrow (Feb. 21), USC will face UCLA at 3:30 p.m. in the Trojans’ final game of the event.
STANFORD ROUND ROBIN (Avery Aquatic Center | Stanford, Calif.)
#1 California 10, #4 USC 7
Feb. 20, 2021 | Avery Aquatic Center | Stanford, Calif.
USC  2 – 3 – 1 – 1 = 7
CAL  3 – 1 – 3 – 3 = 10
USC — Jake Ehrhardt 2, Carson Kranz, Tom McGuire, Orestis Apergi, Jacob Mercep, Max Miller.
CAL — Nikolaos Papanikolou 4, Alika Naone 3, Jack Deely 2, Marko Valecic.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 14, Adrian Weinberg (CAL) 13.
#3 Stanford 15, #4 USC 9
Feb. 20, 2021 | Avery Aquatic Center | Stanford, Calif.
USC    3 – 1 – 2 – 3 = 9
STAN   2 – 4 – 6 – 3 = 15
USC —Jacob Mercep 2, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Carson Kranz 2, Marcus Longton, Max Miller, Tom McGuire..
STAN — Tyler Abramson 3, AJ Rossman 3, Beck Jurasius 3, Ethan Parrish, Andrew Churukian,  Quinn Woodhead, Soren Jensen, Jackson Painter, Larsen Weigle.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 8, Andrew Chun (STAN) 13.

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