Tigers finish season as national runner-up
The Pacific men’s water polo team (17-6) fell to Stanford (21-2), 13-8, on Sunday afternoon at Chris Kjeldsen Pool in the NCAA Men’s Water Polo National Championship.
Despite the loss, the Tigers enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, finishing as the national runner-up for the second time since 2013.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- UOP faced the Cardinal for the third time this season, having previously been defeated by Stanford, 15-14, on Sept. 28 and 11-8 on Oct. 6.
- Making a case for yet another All-American selection, redshirt senior Luke Pavillard tallied his third hat-trick of the year against Stanford.
- Playing in his final game in the Orange and Black, senior and Stockton native Jay Halva scored for the first time since Pacific’s 19-9 win over UC Irvine on Nov. 9.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- The Cardinal outshot the Tigers overall, 33-30, but UOP converted on four power plays to Stanford’s zero.
- Other than the opening period, Pacific controlled the ball at the beginning of each quarter, winning three of the match’s four sprints.
- Although he did not see action until the second period, redshirt freshman Jonathan Barry made the most of his minutes in the pool, racking up nine saves and two steals for UOP.
- Stanford would notch the first points of the match, but the Tigers responded less than two minutes later as Pavillard found senior Andrea De Nardi near the cage to even the score at one at the 4:01 mark.
- Unfortunately, the Cardinal then countered with three straight goals of their own before De Nardi scored his second goal of the day with 1:26 remaining in the opening frame.
- At the end of the first, the Tigers trailed top-seeded Stanford, 6-3.
- Pacific could not find any momentum on either side of the ball in the second period as the Cardinal scored three goals in the quarter.
- At the halftime break, the Tigers trailed Stanford, 9-3.
- Looking to mount a historic comeback, Pacific scored back-to-back goals in the third quarter as sophomore Bogdan Djerkovic and freshman Jeremie Cote scored at 1:32 and :50 respectively.
- At the end of three, the Tigers were within striking distance, but Stanford still held the advantage with a 10-5 lead heading into the final eight minutes of the season.
- Finding rhythm on offense, Pacific cut the lead to four on Pavillard’s second goal of the match at the 4:54 mark.
- Aiming to wrap up the contest, Stanford then scored two straight goals to go back on top of the Tigers by six points (12-6).
- As the clock was winding down, Halva netted his sixth goal of the year at 1:57 on an assist from Cote.
- Pavillard would close out the match with one final goal at :18, but Stanford went on to defeat the Tigers by a final score of 13-8 to win their first NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championship since 2002.
LEAVING A LEGACY:
- Leading the Tigers like they have throughout their careers in the Orange and Black, Pavillard and Engin Ege Colak were both selected to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team. Pavillard finished the tournament with 8 total goals, 5 assists and 10 total points while Colak added one goal in UOP’s win over Pepperdine.
- Impressing all along in their first season in Stockton, Cote and Djordje Stanic were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team. Cote finished tournament play with 3 goals, 2 assists and 5 total points while Stanic contributed 3 goals, 5 assists and 8 total points in Pacific’s two matches.
THANK YOU, TIGER FANS: Despite the rough ending to the season, the Pacific men’s water polo team would like to thank all fans for their continuous support and dedication to the program throughout the entire season. The future is extremely bright and the Tigers look forward to seeing everyone back out at Chris Kjeldsen Pool next year for another unforgettable season of water polo.