#5 Men's Water Polo Falls Short At #1 Cal

Ben Stevenson (photo by John Schaffer/LMU)
Ben Stevenson (photo by John Schaffer/LMU)

BERKELEY, Calif. - A comeback bid by the No. 5 Pacific men's water polo team fell short at No. 1 Cal on Saturday, as the Tigers fell 15-11, snapping Pacific's season-opening four-game win streak.

Luke Pavillard scored four goals while Ben Stevenson and Luis Araya each added three goals. Kale Ai also scored for Pacific.

Pacific saw the Bears open to a 5-1 lead before the Tigers rallied to close within 9-8 in the third quarter, but Cal (6-0) surged back and held on for their sixth win of the season.

John Hedges recorded nine saves in goal with seven steals for Pacific.

The Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter as Luca Cupido opened the scoring for Cal at the 4:31 mark. The Bears stretched the lead to 2-0 just under a minute later as Pedro Stellet tallied. Nicholas Carniglia added a third goal for Cal.

In the second, Nikos Delagrammatickas added a power play goal before Kale Ai got the Tigers on the board off a Ben Stevenson assist. Cal's Johnny Hooper responded with a goal as the Bears led by four. Pavillard answered, cutting the deficit to 5-2. But Jordan Hoover restored the four-goal margin for Cal.

A power-play goal from Stevenson brought the Tigers within 6-3, but once again, the Bears responded as Cupido tallied again. Odysseas Masmanidis tacked on another goal as Cal led 8-3.  Araya finished off a pass from Ai, bringing Pacific within 8-4.  The Tigers killed off a 6-on-4 opportunity to Cal and Pavillard scored his second goal before the end of the half as the Tigers pulled within 8-5.

Stevenson opened the third with a goal for Pacific, to bring the Tigers within two at 8-6. But Masmanidis answered for Cal for a three-goal margin.  Pavillard answered right back for Pacific, scoring a pair of goals within one minute to cut the Tigers deficit to just 9-8.  But Hoover gave the Bears a little breathing room with his second goal of the game for a 10-8 Cal lead. Spencer Farrar stretched Cal's advantage to 11-8 at the end of the third quarter.

Masmanidis posted the first goal of the fourth to restore a four-goal lead for Cal, 12-8. Stevenson answered right back to close within 12-9 with 5:20 to go, but a 6-on-5 goal from Hooper gave the Bears a four-goal lead at 13-9 with 4:49 remaining. Araya closed the gap to 13-10 with his second goal of the game, this time on a 6-on-5 power play. But Cupido slammed the door with his third on the Bears' next possession. Cupido added another with 1:53 remaining before Araya's third goal. But the Tigers ran out of time, falling 15-11.

Cal goalie Kevin Le Vine posted six saves and a steal.

The Tigers out-shot Cal, 36-30 and held Cal to 2-of-8 with a 6-on-5 advantage.

Pacific will head to the Aggie Roundup at UC Davis next weekend, facing No. 15 Cal Baptist (Friday, 5 p.m.), No. 6 Long Beach State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.), MIT (Sunday, 9 a.m.) and San Jose State (1:30 p.m.).