Nov. 9, 2005
This Week at the Pool:
The third-ranked UCLA men's water polo team (17-5, 3-1) travels to No. 6 UC Irvine (14-10, 4-2) on Thursday, and hosts No. 5 Pepperdine (15-8, 1-4) on Saturday in a crucial week of MPSF conference action. Match time against the Anteaters is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, and the start time for the match against the Waves on Saturday is at 1 p.m. in the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
UCLA entered last week's showdown at No. 8 Long Beach State looking to start a new MPSF conference winning streak after having its 13-game MPSF winning streak snapped the week before at Stanford. The Bruins did just that by holding off the 49ers for a 9-8 victory before 348 fans at Long Beach State's Campus Pool on Sunday.
UCLA received goals from seven different players, led by sophomore Marco Santos and freshman Krsto Sbutega, who each had two goals apiece. Senior John Blanchette, junior Grant Zider, sophomores Justin Johnson and Matthew Jacobs, and freshman Russell Simpkins chipped in a goal each.
Junior goalkeeper Will Didinger finished the match with nine saves, to improve the Bruins to 3-1 in conference play.
About the Anteaters:
The No. 6 UC Irvine Anteaters (14-10, 4-2) enter this week's action against UCLA winners of four of their last five, and six of their last eight contests. UCI has done something the Bruins have not done so far this season, and that's beat Stanford. The Anteaters are fresh off an 8-5 victory over the Cardinal on Sunday. The Anteaters are led by junior Tim Hutton and senior Dreason Barry who have 53 and 52 goals on the season respectively.
About the Waves:
The No. 5 Pepperdine Waves (15-8, 1-4) head into Sunset Canyon Rec. on Saturday looking to break a current three-match losing streak. The Waves dropped their last contest at top-ranked USC, 4-10, on Sunday, but their previous four loses have come by a combined five goals. Senior Jesse Smith leads the Waves with 47 goals on the season.
We Meet Again:
UCLA is a familiar foe to both UC Irvine and Pepperdine. The Bruins are 2-0 against UC Irvine so far this year, after beating the Anteaters earlier this season on Sept. 17 at the SoCal Tournament (at UC Irvine) in overtime, 9-7, and also at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center on Oct. 1, 10-8. The Bruins are 1-0 against the Waves this season, after earning an 8-7 win over Pepperdine at the NorCal Tournament on Oct. 15. This time around, the matches count in the MPSF conference standings.
10+ = W:
So far this season, the Bruins are unbeatable when scoring 10 or more goals in a contest. UCLA is 9-0 on the season when reaching the double-digit goal plateau. This trend is consistent with the past few seasons, as UCLA is 34-0 since the beginning of the 2003 season when scoring double-digit goals against the opposition.
UCLA has been a victim of slim defeats this season - all five of the Bruins' losses have been by only one goal. The only two teams to defeat the Bruins so far this year are California and Stanford. In fact, since the start of the 2004 season, the Golden Bears and the Cardinal have accounted for all eight of the Bruins' defeats. UCLA owns a 3-5 record this season in matches decided by one goal.
UCLA has found a variety of scoring options offensively. A total of 18 different Bruins have scored goals so far this season, including 12 different scorers that have posted 11 or more goals on the year. Senior David Pietsch leads all players with 36 goals scored. So far this season, UCLA has had five or more players score goals in a match 17 times, and owns a 15-2 record when doing so. UCLA has also outscored the opposition 232-118, and is first in the MPSF in scoring with a 10.55 goal-per-game average.
UCLA seems to have a knack at jumping out to fast starts against the opposition. In 22 matches this season, the Bruins have outscored opponents 37-22 in the first period, and by an impressive 42-19 mark in the second period. However, the Bruins have experienced some trouble closing opponents out in the second half. In UCLA's five losses, the Bruins either led (three times) or were tied (twice) at halftime before being outscored in the second half.
A Look Ahead:
UCLA will host rival USC on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Pacific on Sunday, Nov. 20 in the final two regular-season matches before postseason play. Start time is set for 1 p.m. for both matches.