Nov. 23, 2005
This Week at the Pool:
The fifth-ranked UCLA men's water polo team (19-7, 5-3) competes at the 2005 MPSF Conference Championships on Friday, Nov. 25 - Sunday, Nov. 27 at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium. The fourth-seeded Bruins will take on fifth-seeded and third-ranked California (19-6, 5-3) in the first round on Friday, Nov. 25 at 10 a.m.
About the 2005 MPSF Championships:
The MPSF Championship is determined by an eight-team postseason tournament. MPSF teams are seeded on the basis of their finish in conference round-robin play with only the top-eight teams qualifying. The winner of the MPSF Championships receives an automatic berth to the 2005 NCAA Championships Dec. 3 - 4 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.
2005 MPSF Championship Tournament
Fri., Nov. 25 - MPSF First-Round
10 a.m. - Game 1 - #4 UCLA vs. #5 California
11:30 a.m. - Game 2 - #3 Stanford vs. #6 Pepperdine
1 p.m. - Game 3 - #2 UC Irvine vs. #7 Pacific
2:30 p.m. - Game 4 - #1 USC vs. #8 Long Beach State
Sat., Nov. 26 - MPSF Second-Round
10 a.m. - Game 5 - Losers Games 1 & 4
11:30 a.m. - Game 6 - Losers Games 2 & 3
1 p.m. - Game 7 - Winners Games 1 & 4
2:30 p.m. - Game 8 - Winners Games 2 & 3
Sun., Nov. 27 - MPSF Finals
10 a.m. - Game 9 - 7th Place - Losers Games 5 & 6
11:30 a.m. - Game 10 - 5th Place - Winners Games 5 & 6
1 p.m. - Game 11 - 3rd Place - Losers Games 7 & 8
3 p.m. - Game 12 - 1st Place - Winners Games 7 & 8
UCLA's Championship Bracket:
UCLA is seeded in the same bracket as No. 1-seed USC and eighth-seeded Long Beach State. If UCLA wins its first round match against California, the Bruins will play the winner of the USC-Long Beach State matchup on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. If UCLA loses its opening round matchup with the Golden Bears, the Bruins will face the loser of the USC-Long Beach State matchup on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 10 a.m. The MPSF Finals are scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 27, with the championship match set for 3 p.m.
The Bruins and the Golden Bears enter the championships with the same conference record at 5-3, but the Bruins received the No. 4 seed because they earned the tie-breaker over California with their MPSF head-to-head victory over Cal during the regular season.
UCLA at the MPSF Championships:
Since 1993, UCLA owns a 23-15 record in MPSF Championship competition. The Bruins have advanced to the championship match of the tournament five times (1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004), and have won the tournament championship twice (1999, 2000). Under head coach Adam Krikorian, UCLA is 14-4 in MPSF Championship play.
The 2004 MPSF Championships:
Last season, UCLA advanced to the 2004 championship match after wins over UC Santa Barbara (6-1) and UC Irvine (10-6) in the first and second rounds. The Bruins lost to Stanford in the championship match, 6-7, but received an at-large bid to the 2004 NCAA Championships, and would go on to win the 2004 national championship.
UCLA opened the first of a two-match set for the week with a showdown at home against top-ranked USC on Saturday, losing a wild sudden-death overtime match to the Trojans 7-8.
The Bruins would rebound from the loss, with an 11-7 victory over No. 8 Pacific at home on Sunday. Sophomore Justin Johnson and freshman Krsto Sbutega led the Bruins in scoring with two goals apiece, and junior goalkeeper Will Didinger finished with six saves and a goal.
About the Golden Bears:
The third-ranked California Golden Bears (19-6, 5-3) enter the first round of the MPSF Championships with a 3-3 record in their last six matches, including their most recent loss last Saturday at Stanford, 4-7. So far this year, UCLA is 1-2 versus California, losing to the Golden Bears in the NorCal Tournament and the SoCal Tournament. Cal is led by junior John Mann who has 51 goals on the season to his credit.
Last season, California lost its opening match of the 2004 MPSF Championships in overtime to USC, 8-10, and its second round match to Pepperdine, 3-4. The Golden Bears won the seventh-place match, 7-6, over UC Santa Barbara.
About the Trojans:
(Potential second-round matchup) The top-ranked (No. 1 seed) USC Trojans (21-1, 8-0) enter this week's action riding a current 14-match winning streak. USC is also the host of this year's MPSF Championships. The Trojans' last loss came at Pepperdine on Oct. 1 in a 5-4 decision. During their current 14-game winning streak, the Trojans have won seven of the matches by only one goal, and the other seven by four or more goals, including five of those matches by six or more goals. The Trojans recently topped UCLA at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center last Saturday in sudden-death overtime, 7-8, for their 14th consecutive win. USC is led by senior Juraj Zatovic who has 61 goals on the season.
Last season, USC defeated California in the first round of the 2004 MPSF Championships, 10-8, in overtime, but lost its second round match to Stanford, 5-8. The Trojans rebounded in the third-place match with a 7-4 win over UC Irvine.
About the 49ers:
(Potential second-round matchup) The ninth-ranked (No. 8 seed) Long Beach State 49ers (17-15, 1-7) enter the tournament after securing the final seed with a 10-7 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 19. The 49ers lost to UCLA during the regular season by an 8-9 count at home on Nov. 6. Senior Brett McCleave leads the 49ers in scoring with 67 goals, and Long Beach State has posted 326 goals on the season.
Last year, Long Beach State lost its opening round match to UC Irvine, 5-6, but won the final two matches of the tournament over UC Santa Barbara in the second round, 14-12, and over Pepperdine, 9-8, to secure a fifth place finish.
10+ = W:
So far this season, the Bruins are unbeatable when scoring 10 or more goals in a contest. UCLA is 10-0 on the season when reaching the double-digit goal plateau. This trend is consistent with the past few years, as UCLA is 35-0 since the beginning of the 2003 season when scoring double-digit goals against the opposition.
UCLA has been the victim of slim defeats this season - all seven of the Bruins' losses have been by only one goal. UCLA owns a 3-7 record this season in matches decided by one goal.
UCLA has found a variety of scoring options offensively. A total of 18 different Bruins have scored goals so far this season, including 12 different scorers that have posted 12 or more goals on the year. Senior David Pietsch leads all players with 37 goals scored. So far this season, UCLA has had five or more players score goals in a match 21 times, and owns a 17-4 record when doing so. UCLA has also outscored the opposition 264-146, and is second in the MPSF in scoring with a 10.15 goal-per-game average.
UCLA seems to have a knack at jumping out to fast starts against the opposition. In 26 matches this season, the Bruins have outscored opponents 44-24 in the first period, and by an impressive 54-28 mark in the second period. However, the Bruins have experienced some trouble closing opponents out in the second half. In UCLA's seven losses, the Bruins either led (five times) or were tied (twice) at halftime before being outscored in the second half.
A Look Ahead:
The winner of the MPSF Championships receives an automatic berth to the 2005 NCAA Championships Dec. 3 - 4 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.