Men's Sports, Men's Water Polo, Sports

No. 6 LBSU falls to No. 5 Pacific for the third time this season

A slow start for the the No. 6 Long Beach State men’s water polo team prevented what would have been a second-half comeback win against No. 5 Pacific on Saturday.

Opening up Golden Coast Conference play, the 49ers (9-6) came out against the Tigers with plenty of offensive energy, but couldn’t convert much in the first half. The 49ers also struggled defensively, as Pacific took a 7-3 after the first quarter. The Tigers offense was led by sophomore Luke Pavillard, who scored a game-high six goals.

“I thought we came out with a lot of energy, but they were able to capitalize on things like their counter-attack and their six on fives early,” 49ers head coach Gavin Arroyo said. “That changed the dynamic of the game.”

Trailing 9-4 at halftime, LBSU started the third quarter giving up more goals on defense, allowing the Tigers lead to get to 12-4. After that point in the third quarter, the 49ers began to find themselves more on both sides of the ball. Freshman goalie Marwan Darwish came in the game for starting goalie Thomas Freeman and provided an extra spark, blocking tough shots. Sophomore attacker Nemanja Bakic began the offensive run in the third, followed by goals from senior center Duncan Lynde and junior Austin Stewart, cutting the Pacific lead down to 13-9 to end the third quarter.

In front of a sellout crowd of 500, the 49ers began the fourth quarter with a goal scored by Lynde. Pacific tightened up their stingy defense, closing out the game with a 14-10 win. Stewart led the 49ers on offense with four goals in the game, with a team-high 29 goals on the season. Arroyo was disappointed in his team’s third loss on the season to Pacific.

“We’ve got to work through some things obviously, we just can’t get stops,” Arroyo said. “If we can’t get stops then the opponent is never distressed. Tonight [Pacific] was always comfortable until some moments in the third quarter, but it was too late.”

Defensive stops will be key for future success as the 49ers move forward in Golden Coast Conference play. Next up for LBSU will play at 5 p.m. on Thursday at No. 2 USC.

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