Men’s water polo defeats Long Beach State, UC Irvine to continue winning streak
Senior defender/utility Cameron Reagan prepares for a throw. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)
Men's Water Polo
|No. 7 Long Beach State
|No. 2 UCLA
|No. 2 UCLA
|No. 12 UC Irvine
Sept. 11, 2022 1:04 p.m.
For the second weekend in a row, the Bruins kept their winning streak alive.
No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo (6-0) swept its weekend slate with a 15-9 win over No. 7 Long Beach State (4-3) in its home opener Friday followed by a 17-8 road victory over No. 12 UC Irvine (2-3) on Saturday at the Anteater Aquatics Complex.
Playing for the first time this season at the Spieker Aquatics Center, the Bruins engaged in a back-and-forth battle against the Beach on Friday. After the teams were deadlocked at 3-3 through the first eight minutes, the blue and gold took a 7-6 into the halftime break, tying the most goals allowed by senior goalkeeper Bernardo Maurizi in any game this season.
“We weren’t helping Bernardo, and our shot blocks weren’t there for him,” said coach Adam Wright. “We really don’t want to be putting ourselves in that position. The intensity and our body position, our awareness and communication was just much better in the second half.”
After Long Beach tied the game at 8-8 with three minutes and 52 seconds left in the third quarter, UCLA took the lead for good when sophomore attacker Chase Dodd scored, sparking a 6-0 Bruin run into the fourth quarter. The Beach wouldn’t score again until nine seconds were left in the game.
“We just really took pride in our defense,” said senior attacker Tommy Gruwell. “We weren’t worried about offense because that comes second in our system.”
In its first true road game of the season, the Bruins found themselves in another close game early on, leading 3-2 over the Anteaters after the first quarter.
UCLA would use its offense to put the game away early, however, outscoring Irvine 7-1 in the second quarter en route to a 10-3 halftime lead. The 10 goals were the second most it put in the cage in the first half this season.
“We knew we just had to come out firing,” said senior defender/utility Cameron Reagan. “After the first quarter, we just tried our best to stick to our original game plan, and the opportunities presented themselves. It was just our job to finish the opportunities that we had.”
The Bruins outscored the Anteaters 7-5 in the second half, led by Gruwell’s career-high-tying five goals and Reagan’s first career hat trick.
Wright said Reagan has been a valuable piece of the program since he arrived in Westwood in 2019.
“He doesn’t get enough credit,” Wright said. “Cameron goes about doing his job in a quiet way. Without Cameron, this program wouldn’t be where it’s been over the last four years.”
The Bruins will travel up north for the Aggie Roundup in Davis next weekend, where they will play a slate of four games in two days.