Stockton, Calif. -
The No. 7 Pacific men's water polo team will say goodbye to its 10-man senior class Saturday, November 19, when it plays host to No. 8 Long Beach State in a noon MPSF match at Kjeldsen Pool. Both squads enter Saturday's tilt at 1-6 in league play, meaning the victor will earn the final spot in the conference tournament while the loser will be left out.
Last Week In Brief
The Tigers dropped a pair of one-goal decisions last week, falling on the road to then-No. 3 California 9-8 before losing in overtime at home to then-No. 1 USC 11-10. The matches were the ninth and tenth one-goal games Pacific has played in this season while the match versus the Trojans was the Tigers' seventh overtime match of the year.
A Quick Look Ahead
If Pacific emerges victorious from its Saturday contest against Long Beach State, it will earn the eighth and final seed at the MPSF Tournament, played at UCLA from November 25 to November 27. If things hold to form, the Tigers will meet USC in a first-round game.
The Tigers will say goodbye to eleven student-athletes prior to Saturday's match. The group of seniors has been a critical part of Pacific's resurgence as a national power, having led the Tigers to back-to-back MPSF Tournament bids.
"This is a great senior class," head coach James Graham said. "This class has defined what it means to be a Tiger, and I'm excited to see what they can do at the end of this season. I can't be more proud of this group."
News And Notes
Tigers' fans have been on the edges of their seats this season as 10 of Pacific's matches have been decided by a single goal, including the last four matches and six of the last eight. The Tigers have also seen seven matches extend to overtime while two of those matches have required a sudden victory period.
Climbing The Charts
Senior Tom Koning tallied his 150th goal versus USC last weekend. He now has three consecutive years of at least 47 goals. He also notched his 75th career steal against the Trojans.
Senior Lance Morrison recorded his 75th career goal against California last weekend. He is shooting 48.3 percent this season and 45 percent for his career.
Sophomore Balazs Erdelyi reached the 100 career goal mark against USC last weekend. It took him just 49 games to reach the plateau. He also need just three assists to tally 100 for his career.
Sophomore Alex Malkis recorded his 400th career save against USC last weekend. It took him just 45 matches to reach that plateau.
MPSF Stat Rankings
Sophomore Balazs Erdelyi owns an average of 2.33 goals per game, good for fourth in the conference. His 49 goals on the year are fifth-most in the league.
Koning is two spots back from Erdelyi, ranking sixth with a 2.09 goals per game average. He has 46 scores this season, good for eighth-most in the conference.
Junior Goran Tomasevic ranks 12th with a 1.73 goals per game average.
Sophomore Alex Malkis is saving an average of 10.05 shots per game, good for second. His 186 saves are the most by any goalkeeper in the MPSF.
Scouting Long Beach State
Long Beach State enters its match with Pacific at 16-9 on the year and 1-6 in MPSF matches. The 49ers have had an up-and-down season this year. After going 5-0 at the Redlands Tournament in September, Long Beach has neither won nor lost more than two consecutive games.
Senior Alex Petrovic leads the 49ers with a 2.12 goals per game average. He is one of four players in the MPSF to have more than 50 goals this season. Sophomore Nick Rascon ranks 18th with a 1.50 goals per game average.
Junior Matt Kubeck has played 14.75 games this year, averaging 6.24 saves per game while allowing 7.80 goals per game.
Coach Graham is 4-1 versus Long Beach State, having won the last four contests. The two squads met three times last season, the closest of those meetings being an 11-9 Pacific win. Tom Koning had five goals in the last meeting, while Lance Morrison had three and Balazs Erdelyi had two.