By Samantha Thompson

It was another uphill battle for the UC Santa Cruz men’s water polo team this weekend as they fought to keep their heads and their record above water.
The Slugs (7-20, 5-8 WWPA) faced USC, Santa Clara, and Cal this weekend and came up short in all three, falling 20-3, 10-7 and 23-4 respectively. The losses ran the Slugs’ losing streak to seven, and the team has dropped 13 of its last 15 matches.
On Saturday, a fine crowd gathered for the Slugs’ home finale against Santa Clara. The Slugs played well from the outset, but ultimately lost the match.
"In the first half it looked like we could have beaten anybody," Whitchurch said. "But we didn’t adjust to [the referees’] calls."
Members of the women’s water polo team in attendance called the game a "heartbreaker," and agreed with Whitchurch that many calls went against the Slugs.
The team has had to fight as actively and intensely against the obstacle of injury as they have against opponents this year. Early in the season, senior co-captain Justin Garver broke a finger, and his main backup, Angel Martinez, went down with a hernia.
"Injuries got better, but we never fully came together as a team," said junior and co-captain Grant Shubin. "Our loss to Santa Clara is evidence of that."
The team must now try to shake off the losses and regroup before the upcoming Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) tournament.
"We want to figure out what we haven’t been accomplishing as a team," Shubin said after a team meeting. "We’re a better team than how we’ve been playing."
Despite a poor season record, the team could still salvage the season with a strong showing at the WWPA tournament, which will be held in Pomona Nov. 17-19.