A week before the MPSF Invitational, the Bruins found their winning streak in jeopardy.
No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo (16-0, 0-0 MPSF) defeated No. 16 San Jose State (4-6, 0-1 Golden Coast Conference) 11-8 in Westwood. The Bruins also faced off against Golden West College in an exhibition game following the win.
The Spartans took the first lead of the game at the 5:23 mark in the first quarter. Senior attacker Austin Rone broke through first for UCLA, scoring with 4:25 left in the quarter. The Bruins added on two more to take a 3-1 lead heading into the second.
San Jose State stopped UCLA’s momentum and outscored the Bruins 4-2 in the second quarter, culminating with a game-tying goal at the buzzer.
Coach Adam Wright said he was not happy with his team’s performance in the game, as his players did not show any fight during the game.
“We weren’t ready to play. We deserved everything we got that game,” Wright said. “It’s more than disappointing with the effort in how we approached the game. We’re not a mature team. We didn’t deserve to win the game.”
The Bruins’ defense held the Spartans to just one third-quarter goal as they regained control of the game. Four different Bruins scored in the quarter, with Rone, freshman attacker Ashworth Molthen, freshman attacker Jake Cavano and sophomore center Quinten Osborne all finding the back of the net. The Bruins went into the final quarter ahead 9-6.
Molthen said while the team struggled to break away from the Spartans, he knew that if they kept playing to their original strategy, they could pull out the victory.
“We knew it was gonna be a tough game,” Molthen said. “They’re a good team. We just had to stick to our game plan. We’re gonna come back this week in training and work even harder and try to move on from this game.
The Bruins were able to hold on to their three-goal lead for the rest of the contest. Sophomore utility Felix Brozyna-Vilim, senior defender Warren Snyder, Rone and Molthen each scored two goals. Redshirt junior goalie Alex Wolf finished with 10 saves for the Bruins.
Snyder said the Bruins were not able to maintain any momentum against the Spartans; their schemes allowed them to pull out the victory.
“I don’t think there was momentum,” Snyder said. “We just played, did our rotations, did our counterattacks. We didn’t make any adjustments. We kept to our system.”
The Bruins head to Palo Alto on Friday for the Mountain Pacific Invitational. Last year, the Bruins took four straight victories to come out on top of the tournament.
Wright said his team cannot afford to look ahead to Friday. He emphasized his team’s lack of effort as a warning sign for what’s to come if his team does not shape up.
“From top to bottom, totally unacceptable,” Wright said. “We have so much work to do that we have to concentrate on ourselves. If we go do what we just did, it’s not good. We know that we’re gonna see everybody’s best game, and we’re not ready.”