UCLA 7, Princeton 5
UCLA 7, Princeton 5 (OT)
ÂDec. 4, 2004
Stanford will play UCLA (24-3) in the 2004 NCAA Men's Water Polo National Collegiate title game on Sunday (2 p.m. PT) in a game that will be televised nationally on CSTV (College Sports Television).
The Bruins avoided a major upset with a 7-5 overtime victory over third-seeded Princeton.
The Tigers led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Dean Riskas. The score was tied 2-2 at halftime and 3-3 after three periods. UCLA went in front, 5-4, with 5:45 left in regulation on a goal by Peter Belden, but Princeton tied the game with 45 seconds remaining in regulation on a goal by John Stover.
UCLA's Ted Peck scored the only goal by either team in the first overtime. In the second overtime, UCLA's Josh Hewko scored at 2:40 to make it 6-4, but Stover scored for Princeton at 1:38 to make it 6-5. But Albert Garcia added an insurance goal at 1:26 of the second overtime to give UCLA a two goal lead.
Stanford and UCLA will be meeting for the fifth time this season on Sunday in the NCAA title game. Each team has won twice.
Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao
"We're obviously disappointed. It was one of those bittersweet games. We couldn't have asked more of our guys. We're proud of our guys. We played great. We wish UCLA luck tomorrow. We're always battling for respect. We feel strongly that we have some good water polo back East. We're always looking to make a name for ourselves. We do a good job of playing defense, and letting our goalie know where the ball was coming from. The game (between Stanford and UCLA) can go either way, depending on which team's goalie is playing better."
Princeton goalkeeper Peter Sabbatini
"Coming into today's game meant a lot for Princeton. And to the guys on the team this meant a lot. It meant a lot to have all the fans (in the stands) today. Our parents, fans, friends and players who could not travel today with the team all supported us from the beginning to the end of the season. Our alumni is amazing. It means a lot to us."
UCLA head coach Adam Krikorian
"I'm sure the crowd was pleased. It was a great game. The Princeton coaches hve done a terrific job with those guys. They are an excellent team. They were very aggressive, and did a nice job defensively. We put up 37 shots, but our shooting percentage wasn't very good. We were lucky to get by and play for the championship. That was our goal and that is what we are doing. I'm excited to see our guys play like they are capable of doing. "
UCLA senior Peter Belden
"Our main problem was our shooting percentage. It rallies them (the other team) up and makes it a close game."
UCLA senior Joe Axelrad
"We had Stanford in our minds all week after losing to them (last weekend). We had them as our main focus all week. We overlooked Princeton a little bit. But we set out to win a national championsihp, and a win is a win."
-- Courtesy Stanford