UCLA men’s water polo shakes off weak start to clinch Princeton game

In all but one game the UCLA men’s water polo team has played so far this season, the team has led after the first quarter.

That streak ended unexpectedly on Thursday night as the No. 10 Princeton Tigers drew the No. 1 Bruins in the first quarter.

An almost impenetrable Princeton defense accompanied a determined offense to score the first goal of the game and hold UCLA to a single response, even though UCLA would eventually win the game.

“We didn’t come out the way we wanted to, obviously, and it definitely took a little while to get things going,” said junior utility Danny McClintick of the start to the game.

The Bruins started off on the defensive after a goal from the Tigers halfway through the first period. On the few occasions that the Bruins were able to get inside for a shot, the Tigers were able to smother the attack.

Overall, the Bruins seemed lackluster on both sides of the ball, while the Tigers started off . That lasted until McClintick got a goal with 50 seconds left in the period.

“It’s definitely good to get something up on the scoreboard and kind of get the offense rolling,” McClintick said.

Princeton’s early power on offense meant that the first period ended with the game at a tie, and for a moment, it seemed like the game might be close. Still, UCLA coach Adam Wright said he was not satisfied with that early performance.

“The energy level was not where it needed to be in the first,” Wright said.

The tide seemed to turn early in the second period, when two goals in 93 seconds from redshirt freshman center Matt Farmer put the Bruins up 3-1.

“(Wright) said that we needed to stay calm and trust in ourselves and our system of play,” Farmer said of the turnaround in the second period.

The impenetrable Tiger defense from the first period crumbled under a stronger Bruin offense, and senior attacker Paul Reynolds and freshman utility Alex Roelse each got a goal.

Meanwhile, Princeton’s offense started to stall at the same time as UCLA’s defense seemed to wake up and the Bruins held the Tigers scoreless for the second period.

The second half continued in much the same way as the first. A goal 16 seconds in from senior attacker Daniel Lenhart set the tone for the period. Senior attacker Chris Fahlsing, sophomore attacker Ryder Roberts, and junior defender Anthony Daboub each added a goal, while senior utility Cristiano Mirarchi picked up two and Princeton was held to one goal, including four missed power play opportunities.

While Princeton’s defense fell apart as the game wore on, UCLA’s became more and more effective – in spite of pulling starting sophomore goalie Garrett Danner – and only allowed a goal on a 6-on-4 power play in the fourth period.

Meanwhile, UCLA picked up five goals in the final period and finished off a 13-point win in what had once seemed to be a close game.

Read more here: http://dailybruin.com/2014/10/10/ucla-mens-water-polo-shakes-off-weak-start-to-clinch-princeton-game/
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