La Jolla, California - 8th ranked University of California San Diego men’s water polo team welcomed back the student body in style on Wednesday evening, defeating Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) foe 18th ranked Loyola Marymount, 22-12, in a high-scoring affair in front of 1,451 vocal fans at Canyonview Aquatic Center.
What wound up as a convincing Triton victory appeared to be headed in the opposite direction early on. UC San Diego (9-2, 2-0 WWPA) fell behind 6-3 in the second period before a 7-1 run to close the first half put the home team ahead for good.
Sophomore Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt led the way with four goals, and senior Alessandro Valania also put his stamp on the win with two goals and a career-high five assists.
Junior Skyler Munatones matched Valania with two goals and five assists, redshirt sophomore Jack Ranj and redshirt Freshman Konstantin Karlov each finished with two goals and an assist, while junior Noah Carniglia tallied a goal and three assists.
It was the Tritons’ sixth-straight victory over Loyola Marymount (3-6, 1-1), which was led by freshman Blazo Mitrovic’s seven goals. In addition, UC San Diego has now won eight of its last nine games overall with six victories over ranked opponents this season.
Trailing by three with 6:42 remaining in the second quarter, UC San Diego was sparked by Turnbow-Lindenstadt’s penalty-shot goal with 4:58 left in the period. Munatones and Karlov followed with a goal apiece before Valania recorded consecutive scores on assists from Munatones to cap a 5-0 run, making it 8-6 with 2:45 to go before halftime.
Redshirt sophomore Calder Hilde-Jones made the standing-room-only crowd explode with a back-hand goal from the five-meter mark off a nice pass from Ranj with 1:35 left in the second quarter. UC San Diego outscored LMU 12-5 in the second half to pull away late.
The Tritons can only briefly enjoy Wednesday’s win, however, as UC San Diego now heads to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a conference matchup against Air Force on Friday evening beginning at 6 p.m. PT.
About UC San Diego Athletics - With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.