Dec. 2, 2001
STANFORD, Calif. - Despite two-goal performances from Brett Ormsby (Fr., El Cajon/Valhalla) and Alfonso Tucay (Sr., Burbank/Burroughs), the UCLA men's water polo team fell to top-ranked Stanford 8-5 in the NCAA championship match on Sunday at Avery Aquatics Center.
The Cardinal (22-1) defeated the Bruins (16-5) for the fourth time this season and claimed its ninth national crown in the sport. UCLA was attempting to win the program's third straight title.
The Bruins struggled offensively at the beginning of the match and Stanford jumped ahead 3-0 halfway through the first quarter. Tournament MVP Tony Azevado converted a four-meter penalty shot, Jeff Nesmith scored on a breakaway, and Peter Hudnut cashed in a six-on-five opportunity. UCLA got a goal back at the end of the opening period when Tucay pushed a backhand effort past Cardinal goalkeeper Nick Ellis.
Luck was not on the Bruins' side in the second quarter as four UCLA shots struck the posts and crossbar. Stanford took advantage by scoring twice to take a 5-1 lead to the locker room.
UCLA clawed back into the match in the third period. Tucay notched his second on a turnaround shot from the two-meter position at the 1:33 mark. After a Brian Darrow lob shot evaded the reach of Bruin goalkeeper Brandon Brooks (Jr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou), UCLA responded with two more scores. Matt Flesher (Jr., Diamond Bar/Brea Olinda) converted an extra-man situation. Ormsby then streaked down the center of the pool and threaded a shot between Ellis and the near post to draw UCLA to within 6-4.
Stanford's Onno Koelmann settled the issue, however, by outfeinting Brooks on another breakaway with 4:34 to go in the match.
Albert Garcia (So.,Long Beach/Wilson) registered three assists, while Dan Yeilding (Jr., San Clemente) and Jeff Pflueger (Sr., Santa Ana/Foothill) each added an assist. Brooks finished with seven saves.
The All-Tournament Team featured five UCLA selections: Flesher and Ormsby were picked first-teams, while Tucay, Brooks, and Garcia each garnered second-team accolades.
Azevado (the Tournament MVP), Koelmann, and Darrow each scored twice for the Cardinal.
"With such a talented team like Stanford, we couldn't afford to give them any breaks," Bruin head coach Adam Krikorian said. "I am proud of how our guys battled back."
The match ended the water polo careers of Tucay, Pflueger, and Jon Puffer (Sr., El Segundo) - the team's three seniors - who all beat long odds early in their careers to emerge as key starters on the 2001 squad.
"The seniors taught me about life and how things do always go your way and you have to work your tail off to achieve your goals," Krikorian said.
Attendance for the championship match was 2,226, a sellout at the two-year-old Avery Aquatic Center. Earlier, in the third-place match, Loyola Marymount (15-14) defeated Umass (29-7) 14-6.
UCLA 1 0 3 1 -- 5
Stanford 3 2 1 2 -- 8
Stan - Azevado (penalty), 1:27
Stan - Nesmith (Ellis assist), 1:45
Stan - Hudnut (Darrow assist), 3:26 [pp]
UCLA - Tucay (Pflueger assist), 6:36
Stan - Azevado (Alldredge assist), 1:18
Stan - Koelmann (Darrow assist), 4:43
UCLA - Tucay (Garcia assist), 1:33
Stan - Darrow (Koelmann assist), 2:36
UCLA - Flesher (Yeilding assist), 4:15 [pp]
UCLA - Ormsby (Garcia assist), 4:59
Stan - Koelmann (Azevado assist), 2:26
UCLA - Ormsby (Garcia assist), 4:58
Stan - Darrow (Nesmith assist), 5:24 [pp]
Goalkeeping: UCLA - Brandon Brooks (8 GA, 7 Saves), Stan - Nick Ellis (5 GA, 8 Saves)
Shots - UCLA 25, Stan 23
Extra-Man - UCLA 1-5, Stan 2-6