Water Polo Drops Pair of Games to Top 15 Opponents

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Navy water polo team (6-9) dropped a pair of games to top-15 opponents on Saturday out in California. The Midshipmen battled hard, but ultimately fell 7-5 to No. 14 Santa Clara (8-5) in the final game of the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament at the Axelrood Aquatics Center in Claremont, Calif. In the nightcap, the Mids lost to No. 3 UCLA (13-1), 13-5, at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center in Los Angeles.
“We played much better today,” head coach Luis Nicolao stated of his team. “We had our opportunities against Santa Clara, but we weren’t able to come away with the win. They are a good team that is nationally-ranked so you can’t miss those opportunities and expect to win. With UCLA, they are the defending national champions. They are a tough team and they showed that today. We have one more game out here in California and we are looking forward to once again get in the pool and have an opportunity to improve and get better.”
Offensively, six different Midshipmen found the back of the net on the day, including a pair of Mids with multiple goals. Isaac Salinas (Spring City, Pa.) paced the team with four goals on the day. The senior captain notched two goals in each game. Travis Berzins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) finished the day with a pair of scores, finding the back of the net twice against Santa Clara.
Defensively, Caden Capobianco (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Max Sandberg (Newport Beach, Calif.) each saw time between the pipes. Capobianco finished the day with 18 total saves with seven steals in a game and a half, while Sandberg tallied seven stops in a half. Capobianco registered 11 saves against Santa Clara with seven stops against UCLA, while Sandberg posted seven saves against the nationally-ranked Bruins.
Navy closes out its California road trip on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. (ET) as the Midshipmen take on No. 9 San Jose State at the Burns Aquatics Center on the campus of Loyola Marymount. Live stats will be available through the game.
Game 1 Recap: #14 Santa Clara 7, Navy 5
Santa Clara started the game with a goal to take an early lead, but Navy responded with three straight goals to take a lead through one quarter. Salinas, Berzins, and Jack Weggeland (Riverside, Calif.) each netted goals. The second quarter saw the Broncos trim the margin to one, 3-2.
In the second half, Berzins scored his second goal of the game, but back-to-back scores by Santa Clara knotted the game at 4-4 through three quarters. The Broncos took the lead to start the fourth quarter, but Salinas responded to tie the game at five. Santa Clara closed out the game with back-to-back scores to earn the 7-5 win.
Game 2 Recap: #3 UCLA 13, Navy 5
In the second game, the defending national champions jumped out to a lead and never looked back. UCLA used three goals to take an early 3-0 lead. Chris Kim (Los Angeles, Calif.) scored to trim the margin to two. The Bruins closed out the quarter with two more scores to go up 5-1 through one period. Salinas started the second with a goal, but three straight scores by the hosts extended the advantage to six. Salinas found the back of the net for the second time in the quarter, but consecutive goals put UCLA in front, 10-3, at halftime.
The second half was saw the Bruins score the only goal of the third quarter and the two teams tie in the fourth. Hayden Kahn (San Clemente, Calif.) and Spencer Shelley (Grapevine, Texas) netted goals in the fourth quarter to match UCLA’s two scores.

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