Coincidentally, the No. 6 Long Beach State men’s water polo team (9-5) came in 6th place at the MPSF Invitational this past weekend in Los Angeles. The 49ers have four opponents they can’t seem to muster a win by; Cal, USC, Stanford and Pacific. While all four of those teams are ranked in the top five while LBSU sits at No. 6, one would think the 49ers could find a way to win one of the five games they’ve dropped this season.
The 49ers opened tournament play on Friday against No. 12 Princeton, downing the Tigers by a score of 11-8. Junior goalie Thomas Freeman had 12 saves and prevented a big comeback as Princeton scored six out of eight goals in the second half.
Moving on to Saturday, the 49ers were faced with two games against No. 3 Stanford and No. 10 UC Irvine. LBSU started off the game against Stanford on a high note, leading 2-1 after the first quarter. The 49ers could not get past the Stanford defense until the fourth quarter, scoring three goals and eventually losing 9-6. Junior attacker Chandler Kaltenbach led the LBSU offense with 3 goals.
In the third game of the weekend, the 49ers put on an offensive show against No. 10 UC Irvine. LBSU got out to a 10-2 lead by halftime with goals scored by six different players. UCI came back from the half with a five goal offensive effort, but it was not enough to catch up with the 49ers. LBSU would go on to score two more goals in the 4th quarter, winning the game 12-7. Seniors Duncan Lynde and Jacob Fujioka scored three and two goals respectively.
With the win over UCI on Saturday, LBSU advanced to the fifth-place game of the tournament on Sunday. The 49ers were matched up with Golden Coast Conference rival No. 5 Pacific for the second time this season. Pacific started off aggressive early on and led 6-4 after the first quarter. LBSU limited the Tigers in the second quarter, allowing only three goals and trailing 9-6 at halftime. The 49ers couldn’t catch up on offense for the rest of the game, eventually losing 13-10. Lynde and sophomore attacker Nemanja Bakic carried the way with three and two goals scored.
Next up for the 49ers is a third chance to take down the No. 5 Tigers. LBSU will host its first home game of the season Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center.
Hopefully the third time’s charm will play a factor in the first game of Golden Coast Conference play.