LOS ANGELES - The No. 5 Pacific men's water polo team opened the MPSF Invitational with a 21-8 victory over No. 13 UC San Diego Friday as Engin Ege Colak scored five goals while Luke Pavillard tallied four.
John Hedges was credited with six saves and three steals as the Tigers improved to 9-1 on the season.
Colak opened the scoring a minute in, and Ai gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. After Colak struck again, Thumwood buried a five-meter penalty to the bottom left side for a 4-0 lead. Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt put the Tritons on the board and Skyler Munatones responded with a five-meter penalty to cut the Tigers' lead to 4-2. Stevenson provided a three-goal cushion with a skip-shot goal from the top with 30 second to go in the first, but Cooper Milton pulled UC San Diego within 5-3 on their final possession of the quarter.
In the second, Pavillard tallied on the Tigers first possession, and then Araya buried a skip-shot for a 7-3 advantage. A lob shot from Arman Momdzhyan cut the Tigers' lead to 7-4 but the Tigers responded with another Thumwood five-meter penalty shot goal and Colak ripped home a power-play goal from atop the two-meter for a 9-4 lead. Pavillard added his second goal for a 10-4 lead, but Munatones responded with a goal following an exclusion to Hedges. Ronald Ginoti trimmed Pacific's lead to 10-6 just before halftime with a power-play goal.
Lule tallied in the third to restore a five-goal lead at 11-6 before Pavillard struck again and Thumwood posted his third of the game. Colak's goal made it 14-6 and Clappis finished for a 15-6 advantage. Clappis added another on a five-meter penalty shot, but Nolan Ortega cut the gap to 16-7 with 1:51 left in the quarter.
Colak posted his fifth to open the fourth quarter and Pavillard tacked on his fourth for an 18-7 Pacific lead. Tim Reeves capped a power play with his first goal of the year in his return to the pool as the Tigers led by a dozen. Noah Carniglia got one back for the Tritons. Wyatt Barker delivered a goal for a 20-8 lead with 3:46 remaining. Clappis wrapped the scoring with his third goal giving him his second career hat trick.
Sam Thompson made 11 saves in goal for the Tritons, who fall to 3-8.
With the win, the Tigers will face No. 4 UCLA in the quarterfinals on Saturday at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Tigers second game of Saturday will be against either No. 1 Cal or No. 9 Pepperdine at either 2 p.m. (if the Tigers lose to UCLA) or 3:15 p.m. (with a victory over UCLA), also at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
UCLA posted a 7-4 win over No. 2 Loyola Marymount to advance to the quarterfinals. No. 1 Cal advanced with a 24-7 win over Air Force, while Pepperdine defeated No. 8 UC Davis in a second sudden death overtime, 12-11.
Live stats will be available for all games of the MPSF Invitational.