No. 11 Lions Spoil Aggie Comeback Rally

Freshman goalkeeper Philip Bates tallied 10 saves in just his fifth career start.
(Mark Honbo, Athletics Communications)

Oct. 26, 2012

DAVIS, Calif. - Aggie junior Bernie Rogers hit two outside shots to help erase a three-goal deficit with three minutes remaining but Lion junior John Mikuzis connected on a two-meter goal with nine seconds remaining to lift 11th-ranked Loyola Marymount to a 9-8 win over No. 16 UC Davis in a Western Water Polo Association men's showdown at Schaal Aquatics Center Friday night.

The Aggies fall to 12-14 overall and 10-4 in WWPA games. The Lions improve to 12-9 for the year and 8-2 in conference play, ending a three-game losing skid.

Rogers and sophomore Trevor Allen, who hit the third goal of UC Davis' fourth-quarter rally, each finished with two goals. Sophomore center Teddy Nicholson also hit a pair of goals while seniors Matt Vowell and Colin Hicks each scored one. Freshman goalkeeper Philip Bates enjoyed the best game of his young career, tallying 10 saves including two against 6-on-5 chances.

Mikuzis led LMU with three goals while Milutun Mitrovic and Matt Venner each chipped in two. Goalkeeper Kyle Testman scored nine saves, five of which came in the first quarter.

The Lions stormed to an early 3-1 lead, getting a two-meter goal from Venner on the opening possession, a goal from the four spot by sophomore Mark Menis and a finished counterattack from Mikuzis during the first 3:17 of play. Meanwhile, the Aggies had gotten on the board at the 6:02 mark when junior Stuart Dooley assisted Nicholson on a power play to equalize at 1-1. Vowell later hit a bar-in shot from the outside with 3:56 to cut the LMU lead to one, then the two teams traded defensive stops for the rest of the period.



Venner opened the second quarter with yet another goal from two meters to double the margin to two, then Nicholson's backhanded shot found its way into the net at 6:18 to cut the deficit to 4-3. UC Davis equalized less than two meters later when Hicks drew a five-meter foul from the goalkeeper Testman, then converted his own penalty shot. Mikuzis restored the Lion lead on the next possession, converting a 6-on-5 goal from two meters with 3:49 remaining, only to have the Aggies tie the game for a third time when Allen's skip shot went through Testman's hands and into the cage just 27 seconds later. Bates made two more saves down the stretch as the two teams went to the break in a 5-5 tie.

Loyola Marymount held UC Davis scoreless for 13 minutes after halftime to claim an 8-5 lead. Mitrovic scored a two-meter goal early in the third, assisted Seth Coldren later in that period, then hit an outside shot with 3:01 left in the fourth. But Rogers ended the Aggie scoring drought on the next possession with a missile from the outside, cutting the lead to two and igniting his team's comeback run. Allen found the high left corner of the cage with shot from six meters out at the 1:10 mark, then Rogers connected on another long-range shot with 16 seconds remaining to tie the contest at 8-8.

LMU called a timeout to run a final play, which resulted in Mikuzis' game-winner with :09 remaining. The junior center unloaded a shot as the Aggie defense collapsed onto him, and the ball found a spot just inside the right post. UC Davis then had its final chance to force an overtime. Rogers advanced the ball inside to Allen who fired just high of the cage as the game clock wound down.

Friday's contest marks the second time UC Davis has lost a one-goal game to a higher-ranked team this season: the Aggies dropped a 10-9 battle to then No. 9 Long Beach State in mid-September.

UC Davis returns to action on Thursday with another 6 p.m. home contest with defending WWPA champion UC San Diego.

#11 Loyola Marymount (12-9, 8-2) 3 2 2 2 - 9
#16 UC Davis (12-14, 10-4) 2 3 0 3 - 8

GOALS - LMU: John Mikuzis 3, Matt Venner 2, Milutun Mitrovic 2, Mark Menis 1, Seth Coldren 1. UC Davis: Teddy Nicholson 2, Trevor Allen 2, Bernie Rogers 2, Matt Vowell 1, Colin Hicks 1.

GOALIE SAVES - LMU: Kyle Testman 9 (32:00). UC Davis: Philip Bates 10 (32:00).

10.26.12 ScoresheetGet Acrobat Reader