Oct. 11, 1999
LOS ANGELES - The No. 1 UCLA men's water polo team (9-2 overall, 2-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) hopes to improve upon its undefeated conference record when the Bruins play host to No. 4 California (7-6 overall, 2-1 MPSF) and No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (6-7 overall, 1-1 MPSF) for MPSF matchups this weekend.
Saturday, Oct. 16, will feature a water polo/football doubleheader vs. Cal at the Rose Bowl. The water polo teams face off at 10 a.m. at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center prior to a 12:30 p.m. football kickoff. The Bruins return to the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on the UCLA campus Sunday, Oct. 17 for a noon match against the Gauchos.
UCLA STUNG BY USC IN NORCAL FINAL, FINISH 2ND: The Bruins cruised through their first three games of the Northern California Tournament at Stanford last weekend, until USC's Ivan Babic scored a two-point goal with 1:03 left in the game to swipe the 7-6 victory and the tournament title.
It was a see-saw battle between cross-town rivals, with UCLA jumping out to a 2-0 first quarter lead before third-ranked USC scored four points in the second quarter to take a 4-2 advantage into halftime. The Bruins held a 6-5 lead with just over a minute remaining until the game-winner by the Trojans.
On Saturday, UCLA easily defeated the Cal "B" team 16-2 but the match was considered a bye and was not to be included in season results or statistics. For the second straight game, UCLA defeated Long Beach State 11-5 to earn a place in a semifinal match with California on Sunday. The Bruins posted a 5-1 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, holding the Golden Bears scoreless through the second half for the 8-2 win.
In the other semifinal, the Trojans defeated No. 2 Stanford 12-10 in overtime to set up the UCLA-USC final.
CAL NOTES: Saturday marks the third meeting of the year between these two MPSF rivals, with the Bruins holding the 2-0 edge. UCLA defeated Cal 11-9 in Berkeley Sept. 26 and then again 8-2 in the semifinals of the NorCal Tourney. The Golden Bears finished fourth in the tournament last weekend, defeating No. 20 UC Davis 12-3 and No. 5 Pacific 9-8 before falling to UCLA and then-No. 2 Stanford 8-6 in the third place game.
The Bruins lead the all-time series record, 55-45-1. Cal is coached by Peter Asch, who begins his first season at the helm of the men's water polo program, replacing Steve Heaston, who passed away in the off-season following a long battle with brain cancer.
UCSB NOTES: This will be the first meeting of the season between the Bruins and Gauchos. UCSB faces Pepperdine Saturday, Oct. 16 at noon in Malibu before coming to Westwood Sunday. The Gauchos finished 10th in the NorCal Tournament, defeating UC Santa Cruz 11-1 before losing three straight to UC San Diego (12-6), UC Irvine (5-2) and Loyola Marymount (7-5). Last year the Bruins defeated UCSB twice in two meetings. UCLA leads the all-time series 71-16-1. The Gauchos are coached by Joe O'Brien.
BRUIN LEADERS: Senior Matt Armato leads the Bruins in scoring (22 points, , 4 two-point goals), while junior Sean Kern is close behind with 21 points (19 goals, two two-pointers)...Junior Adam Wright is third with 19 points (18 goals, one two-pointer) and leads the squad in steals (13)...Junior Blake Wellen is tops in assists (seven)...Senior goalkeeper Parsa Bonderson has a 4.94 goals against average and 73 total saves...Through 11 games, UCLA has outscored its opponents 108-68.