IRVINE, Calif. – The men's water polo team edged out a tight contest in their conference opener against the Anteaters of UC Irvine, 11-9, on Friday night.
A fourth-period surge and five-goal performance by Luke Pavillard proved to be the difference maker as the Tigers snap a three-game losing streak and move to 6-5 on the year. UCI drops to 5-7 overall.
In Case You Missed It:
- There were five lead changes in Friday night's match, the largest margin between the two teams being by three goals.
- Sophomore Luke Pavillard notched his eighth hat trick of the season against UCI. Pavillard accounted for eight points on Friday also recording three assists.
- The Tigers kicked it into high gear in the fourth period striking in four clutch goals and shooting a collective .571 from the field.
- It proved to be Pavillard's night on Friday as the attacker Pacific's first two goals in the opening frame for an early 2-1 lead.
- Pavillard would score off an assist by Engin Ege Colak in the fifth minute of play and follow that up with a solo-goal of his own with 1:58 to go.
- UC Irvine put it's first points up at the 4:57 mark off a powerplay drive.
- The Orange and Black ignited with 3-0 unanswered goals to widen the margin versus UCI in the second period.
- Luis Araya got things started off with his first goal of the match at the four-minute mark helping UOP regain the lead.
- Pavillard followed up Araya's goal on the next possession after a UCI foul scoring his third goal of the night. The sophomore attacker holds a team-leading eight hat tricks on the season.
- Following a corner throw, Andrea De Nardi also found the back of the net (3:37) to push the lead to three for the Tigers.
- With the momentum shifted in favor of the Tigers, UCI would respond with three goals of their own to knot the game up at 5-all heading into the half.
- Pacific would weather the storm early on to open up the second half. UCI knocked on the door first after scoring at even strength for it's first lead of the match in the sixth minute, 7-6.
- The Tigers got back on track on the next play, however, as Bogdan Djerkovic drew an Anteater exclusion which set up Araya for a powerplay goal, his of the night (4:36).
- Pavilllard added to his total on another UOP powerplay this time off an assist by Djerkovic for his fourth goal of the contest (3:33).
- The Orange and Black would have five drives to score before the end of the period but unfortunately could not find the back of the cage.
- Irvine would add another goal to give the match it's third tie of the night heading into the fourth and final period.
- Much like the first three-quarters of play, the final period proved to be a shootout for both teams.
- The Anteaters grabbed the lead first, scoring in the opening minute for a one-point advantage.
- Ege Colak would drive in back-to-back goals, however, which helped the Tigers retake the lead at 9-8.
- After a goal by freshman center Bogdan Djerkovic (2:59) and Pavillard's fifth goal of the match (2:11), the game turned in favor of the Orange and Black.
- The Tigers had arguably their strongest eight minutes of the night in the final frame. Pacific converted of 4-7 shots on goal for a shooting percentage of .571, it's the highest average of the match.
- UOP also posted a sturdy defense that limited the Anteaters offensively. The Orange and Black held UCI just 2-10 shooting from the field recording three blocks, two of which were from Araya, and three pivotal saves by keeper John Hedges.
- The Tigers moved the ball efficiently in the third and fourth period having five of their six goals come off an assist.
- Luke Pavillard had all three of his assists come in the second half.
- Despite going 0-5 on powerplay drives in the first two periods, the Orange and Black turned things around at half converting on 3-4 powerplay opportunities.
- UCI outshot the Tigers 20-14 in the second half but shot .200 from the field.
Up Next For the Tigers:
- Pacific links back up with UC Irvine next week, this time in a nonconference battle at the MPSF Invite.
- The tournament will be hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. and run from Friday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 14.
- The Tigers first match will be held next Friday at 5:30 PM.