Oct. 12, 2005
UCLA this weekend will travel to Berkeley and attempt to defend its NorCal Tournament title. The NorCal Tournament, featuring 16 of the nation's best teams, will be played over two days (Saturday and Sunday) at the Spieker Aquatics Complex on campus and at Miramonte High School in Orinda.
NORCAL TOURNAMENT INFO
The Bruins have been awarded the No. 4 seed into this weekend's tournament based on their position in the October 5 College Water Polo Top-20 poll. UCLA sits atop Bracket D, along with Pepperdine, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. UCLA and UCSB will kick off the tournament on Saturday at 8 a.m. Should UCLA defeat the Gauchos, the Bruins would face the winner of Pepperdine vs. UC Davis at 2:40 p.m. Should the Bruins defeat both Saturday opponents, on tap for Sunday could possibly be a rematch with California and then either USC or Stanford.
BRUINS VS. THE OPPONENTS
The Bruins and Gauchos have not faced off yet this year, but in 2004, UCLA took both contests from UCSB. All-time, UCLA leads the series over UCSB 82-16-1. Earlier this season on Sept. 25, the Bruins defeated Pepperdine 7-5 in Malibu and have currently won four straight matches over the Waves. UCLA leads the all-time series 56-29-1. In 2005, UCLA is already 1-1 against Cal (lost 8-7 SoCal tourney, won 7-4 in MPSF opener on 10/8) and leads the all-time series 66-50-1.
DIDINGER TABBED AS MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior goalkeeper Will Didinger was named the MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week for his part in UCLA's two victories last weekend, including a 7-4 upset over No. 1 California, the conference announced Tuesday. For Didinger, a Manhattan Beach native, the honor is the first of the season and of his career. Didinger tallied 14 saves in last weekend's two victories and now has 87 saves in 13 matches (6.69 per game). He now also sports an impressive 5.00 goals against average for the season. In the Bruins' win over the Golden Bears, Didinger held Cal to their lowest point total all season (4) and shut them out in the third period
LAPIN AND CIDONCHA-SIMMS WITH JR. NATIONAL TEAM
After three matches at the Junior World Championships in Argentina, the U.S., led by UCLA freshmen goalkeeper Chay Lapin and attacker Miguel Cidoncha Simms, is 1-1-2. The U.S. and Greece played to a 9-9 tie in the tournament opener on October 6 before Team USA claimed victory 12-6 over Mexico on Oct. 7. In a 5-5 tie against Slovakia on Oct. 10, Lapin made an unprecedented 19 saves in the cage (42 total in four matches). Cidoncha-Simms has notched three goals in four matches, including two in the win over Mexico.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
The similarities between this year's team and last year's national championship squad are striking. In 2004, UCLA entered the SoCal Tournament at 3-0 and then proceeded to go 2-2 with losses to Cal and Stanford; in `05 the Bruins were 4-0 and against went 2-2 with losses to Cal and Stanford. In 2004, after those losses at SoCal, UCLA went 20-1, including an 18 straight wins, en route to the NCAA title. Thus far in 2005, the Bruins have gone 5-0 since SoCal and head into this weekend 11-2