USC and Stanford fought off upset bids Friday night to join California and UCLA as winners in the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. water polo tournament at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach.
Zoltan Berty scored twice in the last 1:44 to give third-seeded USC a 13-11 victory over UC Irvine. The Trojans, who were tied at 9-9, 10-10 and 11-11 after blowing a 7-2 lead, got 4 goals from Robert Lynn.
Stanford’s Erik Blum and Greg Morris scored late in the third quarter to break a 3-3 tie as the fourth-seeded Cardinal edged Cal State Long Beach, 5-4.
In the semifinals of tonight’s single-elimination tournament, USC will play second-seeded UCLA, an 11-3 winner over Navy, at 7:30 p.m.; and Stanford will face No. 1 Cal, which beat Arkansas-Little Rock, 17-6, at 6 p.m.
UCLA, led by Hank Peterson and Scott Leonard with 3 goals each, outscored Navy, 7-1, in the second half.
Ten of Cal’s players scored and goalie Jim Wagner had 13 saves.