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With multiple hat tricks, UCLA men’s water polo sweeps Pacific, UC Davis

Redshirt senior attacker Jack Larsen attempts a shot against Stanford at Spieker Aquatics Center. Larsen’s eight goals against Pacific on Saturday tied the coach Adam Wright era record for most goals in a game by a Bruin. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

Men's water polo

No. 2 UCLA20
No. 7 Pacific12
No. 2 UCLA16
No. 11 UC Davis7

By Lamar Tuker

Sept. 19, 2023 1:04 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article misspelled the name of the Overnght/MPSF Invitational.

This post was updated Sept. 21 at 3:49 p.m.

The Bruins reigned in two more wins behind four hat tricks and a near-record-breaking performance.

No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo (9-0, 1-0 MPSF) conquered No. 7 Pacific (5-2) on Saturday and No. 11 UC Davis (6-3) on Sunday, with the Bruins defeating the Tigers and Aggies by a score of 20-12 at Eberhardt Aquatics Center and 16-7 at Schaal Aquatics Center, respectively. UCLA has yet to be defeated this season and extended its winning streak to nine games.

“Overall, it was a great weekend,” said coach Adam Wright.

The Bruins began their weekend with a pair of career-high showcases from two veterans.

Senior goalkeeper Garret Griggs achieved both a season- and career-high with 15 saves against Pacific. Coincidently, redshirt senior attacker Jack Larsen also recorded a career-high scoring total, notching eight goals – one away from tying the MPSF record and enough to match the most goals scored in a single game in Wright’s era.

“He (Larsen) owes it to himself to go out there and take ownership of who he can be,” Wright said. “And that’s exactly what he did.”

The Bruins were off to a slow defensive start, as Pacific was able to score eight goals in the first half of the game. Wright said the team was able to recover during the second half, where it allowed just four goals.

Larsen added that the Bruins’ defensive efforts need to improve as the season trickles on.

“They (The Tigers) had 12 goals,” Larsen said. “We just can’t have that.”

However, on Sunday afternoon, UCLA’s defensive traits shined, holding UC Davis to seven goals and achieving the largest margin of victory in the series since 2015.

Senior attacker Rafael Real Vergara recorded a hat trick and more, scoring four goals, while redshirt senior utility Giorgio Alessandria and freshman center Marcell Szécsi both had traditional hat tricks.

Larsen said the team picked up its defensive play to secure the road sweep.

“We had a lot more intensity on the defensive end, and we’re going to try and carry that moving forward,” Larsen said.

Redshirt freshman attacker Frederico Jucá Carsalade, who did not get on the scoreboard against Pacific, added two assists and a goal against UC Davis.

Carsalade shared his teammate’s sentiment and said the Bruins competed with high intensity, deep defense and a commitment to the team during their game against the Aggies.

“We were put into a UCLA way to play water polo,” Carsalade said. “And that’s what we got to do every single game.”

When it came to adjusting to the team dynamics, Carsalade said Larsen has been a great help.

“Ever since I got here, he has helped me, settling in and understanding the team culture,” Carsalade said.

UCLA will return to Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday to host Occidental College to begin the Overnght/MPSF Invitational.

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Lamar Tuker
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