NCAA Men's Water Polo Tournament: USC, UCLA to face off in Crosstown Showdown title game
The NCAA Men's Water Polo final on Sunday will come down to a Crosstown Showdown, half ensured first with UCLA's 11-9 win over the University of Pacific. The No. 1 seed Bruins pitched a shutout during the second period to turn the momentum their way, taking a 5-3 lead at halftime over the nation's No. 5-ranked team. Freshman Nicolas Saveljic completed his hat trick with 4:11 remaining in the third.
Pacific cut the UCLA lead to 9-7 on a power play with 7:35 remaining, but the Bruins quickly responded on Jack Grover's second goal. Alex Roelse also had two goals in the victory.
The Trojans and the Golden Bears tugged a more topsy-turvy match with USC making the final push in a thrilling 12-11 win over Cal.
USC took a commanding 6-3 lead through the beginning of the second period. But the Bears stormed back with unanswered goals from Pedro Stellet, Luca Cupido and Vassilis Tzavaras to tie it up 6-6 at the intermission.
The Trojans reclaimed their lead at the start of the third period, but the Bears rattled off four goals to take a 10-7 lead.
The game's final moments belonged to USC. Goals from Marko Vavic, Marin Dasic and Zach D'Sa put the Trojans up 11-10 and a clutch game-winner by Grant Stein on the power play broke the 11-11 tie with 2:35 minutes left to play, iced with a huge defensive stop with just over 30 seconds to play.
USC and UCLA will take their rivalry poolside Sunday at 3 p.m. PT for the national title.