LA VERNE, Calif. – The offensive outpouring from the Cal Lutheran water polo team has been nothing short of incredible this week. During the first of two games on the second day of the Gary Troyer Tournament at Las Flores Park, CLU dominated Washington & Jefferson, earning a 21-7 victory. In the final game of the weekend, CLU fell 14-6 to No. 4 Division I UC Irvine.
Senior Dejan Novakovic paced the offense again with his second six-goal game of the fall. His first score of the day came following a steal and a fast break with the next two coming by way of five-meter opportunities. Both Carter Baldwin and Max Zappas added four goals and drew four ejections while Spencer McGrath and AJ Franklin scored a pair apiece. Baldwin led all players with both five assists and four steals. McGrath tallied four assists.
Nathan Ortega got things started in the opening period as the Kingsmen took a 5-3 lead. Franklinscored twice, the first coming on a 6-on-5 situation on a pass from Derrick Graham before he closed out the quarter with a goal on a pass from McGrathafter CLU executed great ball movement.
The second stanza saw each team score three times. Baldwin stepped up, scoring the seventh CLU goal on an assist from Max Zappas before drawing an ejection to set up a Novakovic five-meter shot, which was the ultimate winning goal.
Washington & Jefferson reeled off three unanswered goals to finish out the half.
To start the third Novakovic drew his only ejection of the game and Zappas found the back of the net in the man-up opportunity. On another 6-on-5, Baldwin scored the 10th goal of the game. He then handed out an assist to McGrath. After Washington & Jefferson took a timeout, Baldwin squashed their offensive plan of attack with a steal that led to another CLU score.
On the next possession, Baldwin fired off a laser shot, that caught the cross bar, landed in the hands of Mike Potter, who pitched it out to McGrath to finish off the play with his second of the game. CLU added another goal in the third, but more notably, the period ended with a solid defensive stop by the Kingsmen as Franklin came up with a steal as time expired.
The final frame began with the Kingsmen winning their fourth sprint of the game. With just over four minutes to play CLU executed another great defensive stand when, in a man down situation, they forced the Presidents into a shot clock violation.
Novakovic netted his final goal of the game on an assist from Baldwin to give CLU a 17-7 lead before Carter found the back of the net himself on the ensuing Kingsmen possession.
After a Cal Lutheran line change, Graham Jameson put the Kingsmen at the 20-goal mark. The final play of the game saw Cesar Velazquez steal the ball from the Presidents. He found Derek Heino open at the other end of the pool, where he added one final blow to the thrashing.
Danny Mock played the entire game in front of the cage, blocking 11 shots. Franklin and Graham each finished with two steals. Additionally, CLU tallied a pair of field blocks, from Novakovic and Zappas.
When CLU and UCI met to close out the tournament, the Anteaters controlled the momentum from the get-go.
The Kingsmen were held to a lone goal in the opening half. Novakovic was responsible for the score in the second quarter. CLU trailed 9-1 at the intermission.
At the 2:11 mark in the third, George Hong was able to take advantage of a man-up situation. CLU moved the ball well, using most of the shot clock before Hong fired away at the bottom left corner of the cage. On the ensuing Anteaters possession, Baldwin earned a steal for CLU. A quick Violet and Gold timeout gave the Kingsmen a chance to set up a play. Unfortunately, the lob shot did not work for Cal Lutheran. A little over a minute later, however, the lob did drop for Jameson, who shot from set on a pass from Graham for the third for the Kingsmen.
CLU limited UCI to three third quarter goals, trailing 12-3 entering the final eight-minute period.
Billy Runyon came in to man the cage for the fourth. Norheim recorded a field block and when the ball went back towards the UCI goal, McGrath finished off the play with the fourth CLU goal of the game.
Minutes later another CLU steal was followed by a drawn ejection and concluded with a tip in from Hunter Hamaker. The defense stepped up for the Kingsmen on the next play when Runyon came out of the cage for a steal. At the UCI end of the pool Hamaker passed to Baldwin who added the final goal for CLU.
Hong and Zappas each drew a pair of ejections. Norheim finished with a pair of field blocks and Mock made six blocks.
Cal Lutheran (9-8) returns to SCIAC play on Wednesday, Oct. 10 when the Kingsmen host Pomona-Pitzer at 4:00 p.m. at the Samuelson Aquatics Center in the first contest of a three-game home stand.