Nov. 16, 2004
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - With victories over No. 3 USC and No. 5 UC Irvine last weekend, the top-ranked UCLA water polo team finished its regular season schedule with an overall record of 21-2 and a perfect 8-0 conference mark. The wins secured the Bruins their first outright regular season Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title since 1999 and the top seed into the upcoming MPSF tournament.
BRUINS OUTLAST NO. 3 TROJANS
Matt Jacobs' goal with 2:19 left in the third period snapped a 3-3 tie as the Bruins extended their winning streak as the Bruins defeated USC for the second time this year with a 6-4 victory on Saturday. Brett Ormsby led the Bruins with a team-high four goals. The Trojans held a 3-2 lead at halftime before Ormsby tied the game with 4:43 left in the third. UCLA scored four unanswered goals, shutting down the USC offense. Unless USC defeats UCLA twice in the postseason, the Bruins will be awarded the five Lexus Gauntlet men's water polo points.
UCLA COMES BACK AGAINST NO. 5 UC IRVINE
UCLA trailed early as the Anteaters jumped out to a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period. The Bruins got on the board when sophomore Logan Powell skipped a shot by UCI goalkeeper Joe Wynne at 2:58. In the second the Bruin defense awoke as UCLA's Joe Axelrad allowed just a single goal to senior driver Rick Merlo to open the period. UCLA stayed within one when Michael March sent an off-balanced shot into the back of the net for a 4-3 score. The Bruins finally tied the match after halftime as Ormsby scored his second of three goals at 3:01 in the third. Then fellow senior Josh Hewko scored with a shot from two-meters at 2:06 to give UCLA its first lead of the match, 6-5. Ormsby would add another goal to make the score 7-5 before UC Irvine's Chris Peters netted a goal with :03 remaining in the match to finalize the score at 7-6.
STREAKING ON CAMPUS
With its current 16-match winning streak the Bruins have matched the school's longest winning streak since 1990. The 16 consecutive victories ties the fifth longest streak in school history, which was set in 1988, but is still three short of the 1989-90 teams which ran off 19 in a row.
UCLA has earned the top seed into the MPSF Tournament, which will be played from November 26-28. The Bruins will first face off against eighth-seeded UC Santa Barbara at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 26. The winner of that contest will then go on to play the winner of Long Beach State ad UC Irvine. The championship game, which will give the winner an automatic berth in the next weekend's NCAA Final Four, will be played at 4:30 p.m. on that Sunday. The tournament will be hosted by Stanford at the Avery Aquatics Center. For ticket information please contact the Stanford Athletic Ticket Office at (800)-Stanford. All session passes are on sale for $25 (adults) and $15 (students, youth, seniors) and daily passes are available for $12 (adults) and $8 (students, youth, seniors. The tournament's title game will be televised nationally by College Sports Television.
MPSF TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Friday, November 26, 2004 2:00 pm (1) #4 Long Beach State vs. #5 UC Irvine 3:30 pm (2) #3 USC vs. #6 California 5:00 pm (3) #2 Stanford vs. #7 Pepperdine 6:30 pm (4) #1 UCLA vs. #8 UC Santa Barbara Saturday, November 27, 2004 2:00 pm Game 5 (L G1 vs. L G4) 3:30 pm Game 6 (L G2 vs. L G3) 5:00 pm Game 7 (W G1 vs. W G4) 6:30 pm Game 8 (W G2 vs. W G3) Sunday, November 28, 2004 12:00 pm Game 9 (L G5 vs. L G6) - 7th Place 1:30 pm Game 10 (W G5 vs. W G6) - 5th Place 3:00 pm Game 11 (L G7vs. L G8) - 3rd Place 4:30 pm Game 12 (W G7 vs. W G8) - Title Game
NCAA FINAL FOUR
The 2004 Men's Water Polo Final Four will be hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto, California, on December 4-5. The Bruins have not been to the Final Four since 2001 and have not won an NCAA Championship since their back to back titles in 1999 and 2000.