The UC Irvine Men’s Water Polo team (12-7) blew out the visiting Westcliff Warriors (9-16) 23-13 at Anteater Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Going against an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) opponent, the UC Irvine Men’s Water Polo team won their first home, non-tournament game of the season.
The Anteaters took the first strike of the game, scoring two goals in the first three minutes, with junior attacker Stewart Campbell and junior defender Thomas Cass scoring one each.
Westcliff answered back with a goal two-and-a-half minutes into the quarter, making the score 2-1.
UC Irvine went on to control the rest of the first period, scoring six goals in the last four minutes and seven seconds of the period. Freshman attacker Johann Thrall scored two of the six goals in that time period.
Westcliff got off to a hot start during the second period with two goals, cutting the Anteaters’ lead to five.
Less than two minutes into the second period, junior attacker Dylan Patist, who had a four goal game, scored his first goal of the match and the first goal for the Anteaters in the second period.
The Warriors answered back with another goal five minutes into the second period, returning UC Irvine’s lead back to five.
With five minutes, 24 seconds left in the second period, sophomore utility Jasper Dale scored his first goal of the game, extending the Anteaters’ lead to six. Westcliff then went on a four goal run in the next three-and-a-half minutes, cutting UC Irvine’s lead to two.
The Anteaters quickly responded with their own goal at six minutes and 28 seconds in the second period, courtesy of sophomore attacker Luka Krstic.
Westcliff retaliated with their own goal with one minute and seven seconds remaining in the second period to restore UCI’s lead to two.
However, with one minute and six seconds remaining in the second period, junior attacker Zachary Baxter scored, giving the Anteaters a 12-9 lead going into the second half.
Within the first 30 seconds of the third period, Thrall scored his third goal of the game to give the Anteaters a 13-9 lead.
A minute and 20 seconds later, Westcliff got the ball down the pool and, with no defense present on UC Irvine’s side of the pool besides the goalkeeper, Westcliff scored.
The Anteaters answered back two minutes and 48 seconds in the third period when freshman center Wyley Dale scored, giving the Anteaters a 14-10 lead. The two teams then went back and forth the next couple of minutes.
Later in the third quarter, Westcliff was awarded a penalty shot as a result of a misconduct call on the Anteaters. Even though the ball from the shot bounced off the goal, the Warriors made one final goal in the third period.
Redshirt junior defender Jake Liechty scored the final two goals for the Anteaters in the third period, including a goal with six seconds remaining.
Westcliff scored their final goal of the game in the first 15 seconds of the fourth quarter, then the Anteaters scored six more unanswered goals to finish the game 23-13.
The Anteaters returned to Big West action through a trip to Santa Barabra to take on the UCSB Gauchos at Dos Pueblos High School on Saturday, Oct. 21. The Anteaters were victorious over the Gauchos with the final score being 8-7.
Jack Fedor is a Sports Intern for the fall 2023 quarter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.