Long Beach State men’s water polo looked to regain momentum this weekend, but fell short to No.1 USC 13-6. After going 1-3 at the Mountain Pacific Invitational last week, Long Beach (7-10, 0-1 GCC) was in need for a win, but USC (23-1) proved to be too much to handle.
“We gave them five goals where they just out hustled us, and our goal today was to make sure that didn’t happen,” head coach Gavin Arroyo said.
In a grueling first quarter, the 49ers fell behind 5-0, forcing a timeout to regroup for a stronger comeback.
Freshman center Aaron Arias responded with the first goal for the 49ers and put them on the board, trailing 5-1.
“They are the number one team in the country and we tried to shut down the counter attack because that’s their big game and we knew we could handle them in front court situations,” senior attacker Chandler Kaltenbach said.
With the red and gold Trojan fan section rumbling, USC continued to put the ball in the back of the net and went into the second half with a 7-2 lead.
The 49ers student section roared on as the team rallied to stay competitive in the afternoon match.
Long Beach regained some momentum and blocked three shots on defense in the third then put up three unanswered goals, but the Trojans still dominated going into the fourth, leading 11-4.
“For the most part we designed our defense to where we wanted our shots to come from and in the normal flow of half court. We did a pretty good job but where we got lost was in the transition and getting organized faster before,” Arroyo said.
Kaltenbach and Austin Stewart stressed that working on their 6-on-5 play is important for success going into the rest of the season.
“We play Santa Barbara next week, it’s a huge game for us. They haven’t lost a game in our conference but we were in control for most of the game last week,” Stewart said.
The 49ers will head to UC Santa Barbara to take on the Gauchos 3 p.m. Friday in its second Golden Coast conference game of the season.
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