November 9, 1998
This Weekend In Water Polo: The No. 2 Bruins (15-3 overall, 6-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) travel across town on Sunday for a noon battle with arch- rival USC at the Trojans' McDonald's Swim Stadium. The top seed at the MPSF Tournament is at stake in what looks to be the MPSF game of the year. The MPSF Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, with an at-large berth granted to an additional conference squad. Top-ranked USC (19-1 overall, 6-0 MPSF) brings the nation's best overall record into this weekend's game, as well as a potent offense that has scored 235 points, including 21 two- pointers.
The Trojans average almost 12 goals scored per game, while starting goalkeeper Richard McEvoy has averaged 6.5 points allowed per match. USC's top scorer, George Csaszar, has 48 points (six two-pointers), and is followed by Marko Pintaric with 43 points (eight two-point goals). The Bruins and Trojans met earlier this season at the Southern California Tournament, where USC emerged victorious by a score of 11-7, but UCLA holds a 55-49-1 lifetime edge in head- to-head competition.
Last Week's Recap: UCLA scored a huge victory with a 9-6 conference win over No. 4 UC Irvine on Sunday. Senior co-captain Sam Grayeli (Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa HS) paced the team with three goals, while junior goalkeeper Parsa Bonderson (Santa Barbara, San Marcos HS) guided the defense and pulled down nine saves. The Bruins came out with tremendous intensity, and limited UC Irvine's Ryan Bailey, the MPSF's leading scorer with 80 points, to only two goals. The defense held the Anteaters scoreless in two quarters, while the offense spread the scoring around to six players. UCLA also tallied a win over No. 10 UC San Diego on Friday, handing the Tritons a 16-11 non-conference defeat.
Sean Kern Earns MPSF Co-Player Of The Week Honors: Sophomore Sean Kern (Honolulu HI, Punahou HS) was awarded co-Player of the Week honors for his tremendous contribution to the weekend wins. A returning All-MPSF and All-American, Kern tallied 10 points (including one two-pointer), an assist, and a field save over the weekend. Kern, UCLA's leading scorer and No. 5 on the MPSF list, increased his season scoring total to 43 points, eclipsing his total for the 1997 season, when he led the Bruins with 41 goals. The 6-6 two-meter man is riding a ten game scoring streak, during which he has netted 24 points, and has scored in all but one of the Bruins' 1998 games. Kern is responsible for 27% of UCLA's total offense, and averages 2.5 points scored per game. He shares this week's Player of the Week acclaim with USC's Peter Janov, whom the Bruins will face on Sunday. Janov hit the back of the net six times in the Trojans' victories over Stanford (15-13) and California (9-8 ot).
Keep An Eye On: "Six Super Sophomores" Kern and his fellow sophomores, Adam Wright (Seal Beach, Wilson HS), Andy Bailey (San Clemente, San Clemente HS), Brian Brown (Santa Ana, Foothill HS), Dave Parker (Orinda, Miramonte HS), and Blake Wellen (Mill Valley, Tamalpais HS), have taken the squad by storm, accounting for 66% of the total scoring, 70% of the team assists, 63% of steals, and 75% of field saves. Wright leads the team in assists (19) and steals (25), and follows Kern in field saves, with 11 and 10. Senior veterans Grayeli and Aaron Harries (Anaheim, Canyon HS) balance out the top five scorers with 23 and 14 goals, respectively. On the defensive end of the pool, Bonderson has 139 saves and is posting a 5.94 goals against average. The Academic All-American netkeeper is No. 2 on the MPSF list for fewest points allowed.