Saito's 4 Goals Lead #5 Water Polo Over #8 UC Davis

Ikko Saito (Photo by Meghan Laurel Photography)
Ikko Saito (Photo by Meghan Laurel Photography)

Davis, Calif. - Ikko Saito scored four goals with three assists to power the No. 5 Pacific men's water polo team past No. 8 UC Davis, 11-7, Saturday night at Davis in a non-conference game.

Engin Ege Colak added three goals, while Tim Reeves tallied two with an assist. Aleksandar Petrovic chipped in a goal and three assists, while Luis Araya also scored for the Tigers.

Pacific wraps the regular season at 18-6 overall. The Tigers will return home to host the Golden Coast Conference inaugural men's championship at Chris Kjeldsen Pool. Pacific earned the second-seed and will have a bye to the semis on Friday.

The Tigers opened the scoring as Colak finished off a pass from Petrovic, but Cory Laidig answered back for the Aggies. Saito capped a Pacific 6-on-5 with a goal, but UC Davis had a response, as Eric Martel tallied to tie the game at 2-2 after the first quarter.

In the second, Colak drew a five-meter penalty and Saito stepped up and delivered the goal for a 3-2 Pacific lead. But once again, the Aggies had a response, as Nick Coufal countered for a 3-3 tie. On a Pacific power play, Tim Reeves delivered a goal off a pass from Saito, and then Saito added a goal from a Kale Ai pass for a 5-3 lead.

Colak got free and beat the keeper, one on one for a 6-3 Pacific lead, which the Tigers carried into halftime.

Sasa Antunovic scored the opening goal of the third quarter, bringing the Aggies without two, before Reeves answered right back, capping a pass from Saito on a 6-on-5, to restore a three-goal lead. Antunovic tallied for the Aggies, but Araya delivered a back-hand finish that's become his trademark for an 8-5 Pacific lead. Petrovic set up Colak for a 6-on-5 goal, as the Tigers stretched the lead to four. Riley Venne tallied for the Aggies and Antunovic completed his hat trick as the UC Davis pulled within 9-7.

In the fourth, Petrovic provided a little more room with a goal from four meters out off an assist from Saito for a 10-7 lead with 4:47 to play. Pacific picked up three defensive stops, and Saito delivered the dagger, with his fourth goal of the game for an 11-7 lead with 58 seconds left to play.

Alen Osmanovic recorded 10 saves in goal for the Tigers to pick up the victory. UC Davis goalie Spencer Creed made eight saves in the loss