SAN DIEGO—On Sunday, December 7, the quest for 112 ended at UCSD’s Canyonview Aquatic Center.
For the first time since 2004, the UCLA men’s water polo team won the NCAA Championship, the ninth for the program and a record 112th national title for UCLA.
The Bruins did so in dramatic fashion, winning 9-8 in a match featuring crosstown Los Angeles rivals and last minute heroics by an Australian-born underclassman.
UCLA defeated six-time defending champion USC, seizing a one-point lead after 6 foot and 9 inch sophomore Gordon Marshall, of Newcastle, Australia, put-through the winning points with just 34 seconds to play.
Though the top-seeded Bruins never trailed, the Trojans rallied from a 7-4 deficit to tie the score. After Marshall’s go-ahead score, sophomore Ryder Roberts deflected USC’s final shot to secure the victory.
Crowned national champions, the Bruins celebrated by tossing fully-clothed head coach Adam Wright into the pool, who has led three previous teams to championship match appearances only to fall just short of victory.
With number 112 secured, December could potentially bring number 113 and 114 to Westwood, as both UCLA’s men’s and and women’s soccer teams are in the thick of national title runs.