Men's water polo: UCLA sets record with 52nd straight win
DAVIS, Calif. — The top-ranked UCLA Bruins improved to 19-0 on the year with a 15-8 victory at No. 11 UC Davis (12-4) in a nonconference game at Schaal Aquatics Center on Sunday afternoon. The win rewrote the NCAA record book to become the all-time mark for consecutive victories at 52, extending UCLA's all-time record as well. It also marked a milestone 200th victory for head coach Adam Wright, who is now 200-30 at UCLA (.870). That winning percentage is the best all-time at UCLA and leads the nation among active coaches.
Junior Alex Roelse led the Bruins with a game-high three goals. Juniors Max Irving and Matt Farmer as well as seniors Ryder Roberts and Chancellor Ramirez each scored twice for UCLA. Senior Garrett Danner started in goal for the Bruins, registering a season-high-tying 14 saves, three steals and one assist while allowing eight goals in 29:04 of action. Junior Aleksandar Ruzic replaced Danner for the final 2:56 of the fourth period, pitching a shutout while tallying three saves and one steal. Spencer Creed started in goal for the Aggies, registering nine saves while allowing all 15 goals.
"The biggest thing with this group is the consistency that they bring everyday," Wright said. "That's a testament to the whole group because it takes the whole group to achieve extraordinary things."
Tennyson May (6:24) and Spencer Galli (5:09) got the Aggies out to an early 2-0 lead. But the Bruins scored the next five goals to right the ship, which began with a goal at set by Farmer (3:50). Roelse scored his first on a power play off a feed from Ramirez (1:40) to tie the game at 2-2. Irving ended the scoring in the first with a counter-attack goal (0:13) to give UCLA a 3-2 lead.
RELATED: UCLA tops CWPA water polo poll
Irving scored his second in a row to open the scoring from the front court in the second period off an assist to Roberts (7:31). Senior Patrick Fellner's front court score off a feed from Roelse (5:19) gave the Bruins a 5-2 lead. After Marcus Anderson scored on a drive and finish (5:00), Farmer scored his second from two meters (3:20) to push the lead back to three at 6-3. Then Farmer set up Ramirez for his first goal (1:04) to make it 7-3. Nick Coufal scored on another drive for the Aggies (0:45), but Roberts scored his first on a power play with a feed from Fellner to end the scoring in the second with the Bruins sporting an 8-4 advantage.
In the third period, the two teams battled to a 3-3 draw. Cory Laidig opened the scoring with a power play goal (7:20) for UC Davis to cut the lead to 8-5. But Roberts returned the favor with a power-play goal off an assist from Irving (3:34) and Roelse added his second on a counter (3:04) to push the lead to 10-5. Eric Martel scored for the Aggies from two meters (2:30), but freshman James Vlachonassios fired one in from the front court 17 seconds later (2:13) to make it 11-6. Galli ended the scoring in the third, adding his second of the game on a drive to cut the lead to 11-7 (1:13).
Roelse opened the scoring in the fourth, converting a penalty shot at the 7:39 mark to make it 12-7. Roelse then picked up another assist when Ramirez tallied his second score of the game from the front court (6:01) to extend the lead to 13-7. The Aggies got their only goal of the fourth on a power-play strike from Riley Venne (3:54). UCLA got a power-play goal from freshman Jake Simpson (1:15) and a goal at set from Patrick Woepse (0:27) to provide the 15-8 final.
"There has been a lot of noise about records and stuff like that, but our job is to concentrate on each game and to try to get better as a group," Wright added. "We don't put too much emphasis on those things. If we do the process the right way, in the end, we'll put ourselves in a position to be successful. We know that we have to be ready for everybody's best game and they have done a great job blocking out the noise and being ready."