NCAA Water Polo Champions 2015
No. 1 Bruins Take Winning Streak to No. 4 UCSB

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Nov. 2, 2004


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Attempting to further its march toward its first perfect conference schedule since 1999, the top-ranked UCLA men's water polo team will make the trip north on the 101 freeway this weekend to take on a streaky UC Santa Barbara squad. The Bruins (18-2, 5-0) are currently riding their longest winning streak in eight years with 13 straight victories. Meanwhile, two weeks ago UCSB climbed to fourth in the national rankings, its highest spot since 1990. Since then, however, the Gauchos have gone 1-3 with MPSF losses against USC, Long Beach State and Stanford. UCSB will enter Saturday's contest with an overall record of 17-8 and a 2-3 conference mark.

The Bruins' match this Saturday at UC Santa Barbara has been changed to a 2 p.m. start time. The decision to scratch the original 3 p.m. start was made by the Gaucho coaching staff.

UCLA senior Josh Hewko turned in his second hat trick of the season as the No. 1 Bruin water polo team extended its winning streak to 13 matches with a 11-6 victory over No. 9 Long Beach State Sunday afternoon at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. In all, seven different Bruins scored goals. Senior Brett Ormsby's two goals accounted for his 50th and 51st of the season after he was held scoreless on Saturday for the first time in his four-year career. UCLA goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad continued his stellar play with another seven saves.

Behind single goals from seven different Bruins, UCLA topped second-ranked Stanford 7-4 last Saturday morning in front of an estimated 1,000 fans at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. Axelrad made a career high 14 saves and recorded his 300th career stop as the Bruins moved into sole possession of first place in the MPSF. Beginning with senior Albert Garcia's goal with 4:10 left in the first quarter, UCLA put seven shots past Stanford goalkeeper Chad Taylor and never trailed during the entire match. To open the third quarter, UCLA scored four unanswered goals to take a 6-1 lead. Senior Peter Belden scored the first of the Bruins' third quarter goals at 6:18 after taking a give-and-go pass from Garcia. Seconds later, Hewko lobbed a shot over Taylor's outstretched arms to create a three-point lead at 5:47. Then at 3:58 freshman Matt Jacobs scored on a breakaway one-on-one with Taylor. Thirty seconds later, with UCLA defending a Stanford 6-on-5 advantage, Jacobs again gained possession and drew an ejection from Stanford's Thomas Hopkins. Grant Zider then netted his twelfth goal of the season.

Senior All-American Brian Alexander has led the way this far for UCSB with his 51 goals. Goalkeeper Jon Bonafede, who was awarded the MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week award on October 19, has effectively tended the net for the Gauchos while posting a 6.43 goals against average. Bonafede made a career high 21 saves last Saturday in UCSB's triple ovetime loss to Long Beach State. UCLA leads the all-time series against UCSB 80-16-1... The schools have not yet met this season... The Bruins have not lost to UCSB since a 12-8 defeat at the 49er Invitational on October 25, 1992.

With two weeks left to play in the 2004 season, UCLA is knocking on the door of some long-standing individual and team records. With its current thirteen-match winning streak the Bruins are barreling down on their longest winning streak since 1995-1996 when they won 15 straight, including the final two in 1995 and the first 13 in 1996. The current streak is the seventh longest in UCLA history. Also, it has been announced that senior attacker Brett Ormsby, who earlier this season recorded his 200th career goal, has now moved into second place on UCLA's all-time scoring list with 222 behind Alexis Rousseau's school record 290. Finally, senior Joe Axelrad notched his 300th career save on Saturday, Oct. 30 against Stanford as he tallied a season high 14 in the match.

Six Bruin seniors will play their final home match of their careers on November 14 as UCLA takes on UC Irvine at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center at 1 p.m. Fans are invited to celebrate the successful four-year careers of seniors Joseph Axelrad, Ted Peck, Peter Belden, Albert Garcia, Brett Ormsby and Josh Hewko.

Despite UCLA's current spot in first place of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the Bruins can only guarantee themselves an invitation to the NCAA Final Four by winning the conference tournament. The MPSF Tournament, featuring all eight MPSF teams, will be hosted by Stanford on November 27-28. Should the Bruins fail to capture the conference tournament title, UCLA can still receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Finals via their number one national ranking.

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.

Since the October 6 release of the Men's National Collegiate Top 20 Poll, UCLA has been ranked No. 1 in the nation. The ranking marks the first time since the conclusion of the 2000 season that the Bruins have held the top spot. UCLA has gone 8-0 since earning the #1 rank.

HEAD COACH Adam Krikorian
A bastion of the UCLA men's water polo program as a player and coach, Adam Krikorian begins his sixth season as head coach for both the men's and women's programs and his 13th season with the Bruin water polo program. After sharing the head coaching duties with Guy Baker for two seasons in 1999 and 2000, Krikorian is in his fourth season alone at the helm of the two programs. A winner of nine national championships as a player and a coach, Krikorian has amassed a 110- 32 (.775) record in his six seasons with the UCLA men's team. On October 2, 2004, Krikorian notched his 100th career win with the men's team. He is second among active water polo coaches in NCAA Championships won with two.

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