Day one of the SoCal Tournament saw the UCLA men’s water polo team escape unscathed after facing a pair of Tigers but not without a few scares.
No. 2 UCLA made it to the semifinals after squeaking by No. 7 Pacific, a Mountain Sports Pacific Federation foe, 13-11.
Sophomores Josh Samuels (four goals) and Griffin White (three goals) led the way for the Bruins, but a scrappy Pacific squad kept UCLA on its heels all game. The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the second quarter and stayed within striking distance even after the Bruins took back the lead.
Pacific had multiple chances to cut the deficit to one goal in the fourth, but a steal by senior attacker Ben Hohl led to White’s third goal of the game with 53 seconds to play, which made the lead 13-10.
UCLA coasted to a 13-2 victory in its opening-round game against No. 16 Princeton, albeit with a new face in goal.
Freshman James Hartshorne was put into the cage by coach Adam Wright, who decided to forfeit Hartshorne’s redshirt year. Hartshorne, who was forced to dress out for UCLA in recent games due to injuries to starter Matt Rapacz and backup Andrew Mesesan, made eight saves in goal while holding the Princeton Tigers to only a pair of scores.
Mesesan returned against Pacific in the afternoon game and had four saves.