November 16, 1998
This Weekend In Water Polo: The No. 2 Bruins (15-4 overall, 6-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) will host the top-ranked USC Trojans (20-1, 7-0 MPSF) in a bitter rematch at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center on Saturday. Opening whistle blows at 10 a.m., just prior to the highly anticipated UCLA-USC football game. The aquatic Bruins and Trojans, with pride and post-season momentum on the line, are facing each other for the second time in as many weeks, and are also likely to go head-to-head at the MPSF Conference Tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.
The Trojans lead the 1998 series 2-0, having defeated the Bruins 9-6 at USC on Sunday. UCLA is poised to redeem itself after the loss, and is anxiously awaiting a battle with home pool advantage. Top-ranked USC brings the nation's best overall record into this weekend's game, as well as a potent offense that has scored 244 points, including 22 two-pointers. The Trojans average 11.5 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 45 points (nine two-point goals).
Last Week's Recap: UCLA was on the wrong end of a 9-6 score at USC on Sunday (November 15), which resulted in a clinch for second place in the MPSF conference for the Bruins. UCLA was led in scoring by sophomore Sean Kern (Honolulu HI, Punahou HS), who netted three goals, bringing his season total to 46 points. Kern is the MPSF's No. 4 scorer. Sophomore Adam Wright (Seal Beach, Wilson HS), the conference's No. 25 scorer, tallied two points, and also contributed an assist, while senior co-captain Sam Grayeli (Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa HS), No. 23 on the MPSF scoring list, notched one point. The sub-par performance from the Bruins cost them a bid for the top seed at the MPSF Tournament, and has put the Bruins in a situation where they must win the tournament themselves, or depend on the Trojans to do so, in order to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Keep An Eye On: "Six Super Sophomores" Kern and his fellow sophomores, Wright, 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 67% of the total scoring, 70% of the team assists, 64% of steals, and 74% of field saves . Wright leads the team in assists (20) and steals (25), and follows Kern in field saves, with 12 and 10 . Kern is currently riding an 11 game scoring streak, and has netted goals in all but one of UCLA's '98 matches.
In addition, he is responsible for 28% of the Bruin attack, and has already surpassed his goal total from 1997 (41), when he led the squad in scoring as a freshman . Senior veterans Grayeli and Aaron Harries (Anaheim, Canyon HS) balance out the top five scorers with 24 and 14 goals, respectively . Grayeli, who transferred >from USC as a freshman, has tallied points in 12 of the last 15 games played . On the defensive end of the pool, netkeeper Parsa Bonderson has 146 saves and is posting a 6.11 goals against average. The Academic All-American netkeeper is No. 2 on the MPSF list for fewest points allowed.
Countdown To The MPSF Tournament: The Bruins received the third seed in the MPSF Tournament, scheduled for Fri.-Sun., Nov. 27-29, in Newport Beach. Look for brackets, information, and a preview next week.