Long Beach State men’s water polo won both games of its doubleheader on Oct. 19 at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center against San Jose State and Golden West College.
Long Beach State (12-8, 1-0 Golden Coast) had lost five games in a row, with four of the five against Pac-12 Conference teams.
“Losing always kind of puts you in a weird place, regardless of who it is,” said head coach Gavin Arroyo. “For us it’s just about working through that as a team.”
Arroyo said the game against SJSU (3-12, 0-1 Golden Coast) wasn’t perfect, but the team showed signs of improvement heading into conference play.
“I think it was really just about focusing on us, on our chemistry, our interaction and trying to put something positive together,” Arroyo said.
The team won its first match against SJSU 10-6 in a close game. The Spartans managed to come back from a one-goal deficit as the third period began, bringing the score to 5-5, but the Beach managed to extend the lead to 7-5.
Freshman attacker Rafael Real Vergara finished with four goals on eight shots and also had an assist.
“The main important thing is that we played well on defense, and on offense, it wasn’t the best game, but at the end we still got 10 goals,” Vergara said.
Redshirt senior attacker Austin Stewart led the charge for Long Beach scoring three goals on seven shots with one assist.
“We came in with a losing streak, but we knew this was the game where we had to turn the corner,” Stewart said about the game against SJSU. “We know ourselves as an end-of-the-year type of team because we get our tactics down. It takes a long time, but we have a lot of talent, and today we controlled the game.”
Long Beach won its second match of the day against Golden West College (13-3, 3-0 Orange Empire) 13-6. The match was back-and-forth up until the Beach swam away with the lead heading into the second half.
“We started very bad,” Vergara said. “We were very tired after the first game and as the game was going we started to feel the game again, kept up the good performance and got the win in the end.”
Long Beach State men’s water polo will play Oct. 26 against UCSB at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center at 6 p.m.