Cardinal escapes UCI trap

October 26, 2002

Steve Virgen

"That was our game," and "Right at the end they took it from us,"

was what UC Irvine players Jeff Powers and Garrett Gentry said after

the Anteaters' men's water polo team suffered a 9-8 Mountain Pacific

Sports Federation loss to top-ranked Stanford in front of an overflow

crowd at UCI Friday night.

The fifth-ranked Anteaters (10-6, 1-2 in the MPSF) led, 8-7, with


2:39 left, after sophomore Dreason Barry scored on a 6-on-5

situation. But, the Cardinal (17-2, 4-1) stormed back, as Stanford

sophomore standout Tony Azevedo scored his fifth and final goal on an

extra-man opportunity with 44 seconds left for the game-winner.

"We handed them the game," said UCI senior Jeff Powers, who scored

two goals and fired off the Anteaters' final shot that was saved by

goalie Nick Ellis with 10 seconds left.

Gentry led the 'Eaters with three goals, while UCI's bread and

butter, Powers and Barry, scored two goals each, and Dan Noon added

one. UCI senior goalie Doug Finfrock recorded six saves, including a

big stop when he slapped away Jeff Nesmith's open shot at two meters.

The game featured seven ties, four lead changes, and what longtime

UCI Coach Ted Newland said was the largest crowd ever for a men's

water polo game at the Anteater Aquatic Complex. The game also marked

the return of Stanford Coach John Vargas, who was an NCAA

All-American at UCI in 1982, when the Anteaters won the national

championship with an undefeated record (30-0).

"I hate losing to him," said Gentry, who played under Vargas while

at Corona del Mar High. "I have so much respect for him. I just had a

lot of emotion. (Stanford is) very beatable."

Gentry's intensity was displayed from the outset as he scored

three goals in the first quarter, when UCI built a 3-2 lead. He

started off with an outside shot with 5:08 left in the first quarter,

that tied the score, 1-1. He found the back of the cage again when he

scored from the wing on an extra-man opportunity, that tied the game

again, 2-2.

Gentry collected his third and final goal of the game with 2:10

left in the opening period that gave the Anteaters a 3-2 lead.

"That was a great display of shooting on his part," Vargas said of


Newland said the difference in the game was the 6-on-5

opportunities. Stanford had more of them. The Cardinal scored four

out of seven when they were a man up, while the Anteaters scored on

three out of their four chances.

"That was an intense game," Newland said. "(The Anteaters) came to

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