RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A strong finishing stretch to the season ended on a disappointing note for Santa Clara men's water polo.
PJ McDonough scored four goals, including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter, to send host California Baptist to a 12-10 victory over the Broncos in Sunday's third-place game at the Western Water Polo Association Championship.
The team's fourth-place showing at the three-day tournament was its best since claiming third in 2013.
Christian Britton, Joseph Galgani, and Zach Lowery had two goals apiece for the No. 4-seeded Lancers (17-15) who scored three straight goals in the opening 4 minutes of the fourth quarter to seize control.
McDonough scored twice in a span of 1 minute, 30 seconds to erase the final Santa Clara lead. Britton's goal with 4:04 left pushed the advantage to 10-8.
Goals by Low and Hughes pulled the Broncos within a goal, but the Lancers answered each time.
Lowery scored the final goal of the game with 2:14 left, just 13 seconds following Hughes' strike.
Goaltender Gabe Thorne was credited with 12 blocks to pick up the win for California Baptist.
"Despite the loss today, I thought we played good water polo all weekend," head coach Keith Wilbur said. "The last month of the season we've played really well and lot of that is a credit to our seniors who grinded and kept getting better. I'm proud of what that group accomplished and they've helped elevate our program."
Santa Clara knocked off No. 3 seed Loyola Marymount, 11-10, in overtime on Friday to advance to Saturday's semifinals where they were edged by No. 2 UC San Diego, 7-6, on a late goal.
"The win against LMU was one the best we've had in this tournament since 2013 when we knocked off LMU for third place," Wilbur said.