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Bruins Close 2004 With National Title
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  12/06/2004

Dec. 6, 2004

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Recap

With thrilling overtime victories against third-seeded Princeton and top-seeded Stanford, the UCLA men's water polo team clinched its eighth national championship last Sunday at the Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto, California. The Bruins, who received an at-large bid into the NCAA Final Four, narrowly escaped an upset in Saturday's semifinal match by defeating Princeton 7-5. On Sunday, UCLA battled the nation's top-ranked team through two overtime periods and eventually prevailed with the title, 10-9.

The Title Match...
In the first overtime period, Stanford gained control at 1:56 when Thomas Hopkins found the back of the net from just outside four meters. The Bruins struck right back at 1:45 when Brett Ormsby scored his second goal of the game for the 8-8 tie. Heading into the second overtime period tied, Stanford took a 9-8 lead at 1:54 with another extra-man goal from Peter Varellas. But the Bruins fought back again with Ted Peck's first goal of the match after UCLA received a 6-on-5 advantage of its own. Logan Powell scored the championship-winning goal with 0:13 remaining after a Josh Hewko 6-on-5 shot sailed off the arms of Stanford goalie Chad Taylor and into Powell's possession. His shot deflected off Taylor again but this time dribbled past the goal line.

Ormsby Named Tournament MVP...
Following UCLA's 10-9 victory against Stanford to clinch the title, senior attacker Brett Ormsby was named MVP of the Final Four Tournament and goalkeeper Joe Axelrad and attacker Albert Garcia were named to the first team. Michael March, Ted Peck and Josh Hewko were honored as second-team members.

Bruins at the MPSF Tournament...
The Bruins finished second at the MPSF tournament, played November 26-28, after being upset 7-6 by No. 2 Stanford in the title match on Sunday evening. Earlier in the weekend, UCLA dispatched eighth-seeded UC Santa Barbara 6-1 and fifth-seeded UC Irvine 10-6. In all three matches, senior attacker Brett Ormsby netted two goals, bringing his season total to a near-career high 67. Fellow senior Albert Garcia contributed three goals over the weekend as did senior Josh Hewko. Goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad notched a combined 31 saves in the three matches, including a career-high tying 14 against the Anteaters on Saturday.

The Streak...
UCLA's 7-6 loss to Stanford in the finals of the conference tournament on November 28 snapped its 18-match winning streak, which began back on September 25. The Bruins went 12-0 in October and began November 5-0. The streak (fifth longest in school history) was the longest since the 1989-90 Bruins ran off 19 straight victories. During the streak, UCLA outscored its opponents 171-93.

Six Bruins Named All-MPSF ...
The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, on Wednesday, December 2, announced that six UCLA water polo players had received all-conference accolades. Receiving first team honors were senior attacker Brett Ormsby and senior goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad. Junior center defender Michael March was named to the second team and senior attacker Albert Garcia to the third. Senior center Ted Peck and senior attacker Josh Hewko were given honorable mention accolades.

Ormsby Tabbed By Conference Again...
UCLA senior attacker Brett Ormsby was named the MPSF/Mikasa Co-Player of the Week for his contributions to the Bruins' victories over No. 3 USC and No. 5 UC Irvine during the week of Nov. 14. Ormsby, a three-time All-American, notched a combined seven goals over the weekend, including four in the Bruins' 6-4 win over the Trojans and another three against the Anteaters on Sunday. The announcement marked the eighth time that the El Cajon, California, native had been bestowed the honor and the third time this season.

Goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad Awarded By Conference...
UCLA senior goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad was named the MPSF/Mikasa Co-Player of the Week for his contributions to the Bruins' victories over No. 2 Stanford and No. 9 Long Beach State, the conference reported November 2. Axelrad, a 2003 Honorable Mention All-American and third-team All-MPSF selection, tied a career high with 14 saves, including his 300th career, in UCLA's 7-4 victory over The Cardinal last Saturday. The Studio City native later contributed seven more stops in the Bruins' 11-6 win over Long Beach State on Sunday. Axelrad has now held opponents to six goals or less over the last seven matches.

UCLA Wins NorCal Tournament...
With wins over Navy, UC Irvine, USC and Stanford on October 2 and 3, UCLA won the NorCal Tournament title for the second time in three years . Highlights from the successful weekend included senior Brett Ormsby's 200th career goal and a thrilling overtime victory against Stanford in the title game.

Brett Ormsby Receives Second MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week Consideration...
UCLA senior attacker Brett Ormsby was awarded his second MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week honor after leading his Bruin teammates in an upset of top-ranked Stanford 10-9 in overtime to win the Northern California Invitational Tournament Championship at Pacific on October 3. Ormsby scored six goals in the four UCLA wins to get him over the 200-goal career mark, including three in the title game against the Cardinal. Ormsby also contributed three assists and seven steals on the weekend while earning four ejections.

Brett Ormsby Named MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week for September 12...
UCLA senior attacker Brett Ormsby received MPSF/Mikasa Co-Player of the Week honors for his contributions to the Bruins' victories over Navy and Air Force on September 10. Ormsby, a three-time All-American, tied a career high with six goals in UCLA's season-opening 14-4 win over Navy and later contributed another score in the Bruins' 9-3 win against Air Force.

Head Coach Adam Krikorian
One of the youngest and winningest coaches in collegiate water polo, and a bastion of UCLA water polo as a player and a coach, Adam Krikorian concludes 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 recently completed his fourth season alone at the helm of the two programs. A winner of ten national championships as a player and a coach, Krikorian has amassed a 117- 33 record in his six seasons with the UCLA men's team. The Bruins' 2004 title marks Krikorian's first as the sole head coach. On October 2, 2004, Krikorian notched his 100th career win with the men's team. He is tied with UC Irvine's Ted Newland for most NCAA championships won by an active head coach with three.

Post-Championship Quotes
UCLA Head Coach Adam Krikorian
"It is one of the best feelings in the world (to win an NCAA title). I'm so happy for these seniors. They are an unbelievable group of young men. They work so hard and it is about them. I wanted to win for them. That was one of the most courageous efforts I have ever coached, and maybe even seen as a sports fan. Our guys are in incredible physical condition. I worked them extremely hard for two years. It is a testament to their courage today. Joe (Axelrad) is one of the best guys I have ever known. It couldn't have happened to a better guy. He loves that challenge."

UCLA sophomore Logan Powell on his game winning goal
"It was a rebound off Josh Hewko's shot, and it landed in my hand and I knew I could put it away. We had three players ejected and I was the next guy in line to play. I was in the right place at the right time."

UCLA senior goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad
"Part of UCLA water polo is placing a huge premium on defense. Stanford played fantastic offense, but our defense was up to the challenge. I can't give enough credit to our guys. We played great defense. Tony (Azevedo) is easily the best player I have had the privilege to play against. The overtime rattled our nerves, but we were able to calm down. We knew that in overtime we were in better shape than our opponent. We couldn't be happier on the way we won. Anytime you beat Stanford you have to be happy. When we lost last weekend to Stanford (MPSF Tournament), it left an incredibly bitter taste in our mouths."

2004 - A Season To Remember
The Bruins capped off one of the most remarkable seasons in UCLA water polo history on Sunday by capturing the program's eighth national title in what has already been referred to as one of the most thrilling title games in the history of NCAA water polo. The national champion Bruins finished the 2004 campaign with a remarkable 25-3 record, good for an .893 winning percentage, the best since 1972. UCLA also won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season title by completing just its third perfect (8-0) conference schedule. UCLA sat atop the national rankings with the number one spot for eight consecutive weeks, beginning on October 6. The 2004 Bruins also did something no other water polo team has done since 1990; they pieced together an 18-match winning streak. Beginning on September 25 with a 6-4 victory over UC Irvine, the then-third-ranked Bruins went on to win the NorCal Tournament the following weekend and would not lose again until the finals of the MPSF tournament on November 28. UCLA definitively demonstrated their place atop the rankings as throughout the course of the season the Bruins defeated the nation's top four teams, California, USC and Stanford, a total of six times in nine matches, including victories at each of those schools. The Bruins will say good-bye to six seniors this year, all of whom started on the 2004 national championship squad. The class, which makes up Krikorian's first recruiting class while alone at the helm of the program, includes goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad, Peter Belden, Albert Garcia, Josh Hewko, Brett Ormsby and Ted Peck.


‹ UCLA Men's Water Polo



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