Nov. 10, 2004
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Heading into the season's final weekend, the top-ranked UCLA men's water polo team needs just one victory over either USC or UC Irvine to clinch at least a share of its second consecutive MPSF regular season title. At 19-2 overall and 6-0 in conference play, the Bruins sit atop the MPSF leaderboard trailed by Stanford (6-1), USC (4-2) and UC Irvine (4-2).
UCLA vs. USC TIME CHANGE
The game time for the UCLA vs. USC water polo match on Saturday has been changed from noon to 4:30 p.m. The contest will still be held at the McDonald's Swim Stadium in Los Angeles, but due to USC's homecoming football game, the start time has been pushed back.
SENIOR DAY 2004
Six Bruin seniors will play the final home match of their careers on Sunday 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 during the Bruins' regular season finale.
BRUINS THRASH GAUCHOS 16-5
Seniors Brett Ormsby and Albert Garcia each scored three goals apiece as the Bruins knocked off #7 UC Santa Barbara 16-5 last Saturday afternoon at UCSB's Campus Pool. Senior goalkeeper Joseph Axelrad, the reigning MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week, captured seven saves in the victory. The Bruins also received goals from Ted Peck (2), Josh Hewko (2), James Palmer (2), Matt Jacobs, Grant Zider, Michael March, David Pietsch
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
USC will enter Saturday's contest against the Bruins with an 18-3 record and a 4-2 mark in MPSF play. Back on September 19, the Trojans captured the SoCal Tournament title after hosting the annual competition in Los Angeles. The Trojans have boasted three conference players of the week in two-meter defender Juraj Zatovic, goalkeeper Don Ricci (Sept. 19) and driver Thomas Hale (Oct. 10). Like the Bruins, USC has relied on defense for success in 2004 and have posted an MPSF best 5.15 goals against average as a team. On October 3, in the schools' only prior meeting this season, UCLA defeated USC 8-6 in the semifinals of the NorCal Tournament. All-time the Bruins lead the series over the Trojans 67-56-1. Should UCLA again claim victory, the Bruins would take a 2-0 advantage in the race for the five men's water polo Lexus Gauntlet points.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS
UC Irvine currenlty holds a 14-8 record and a 4-2 MPSF mark. Before facing the Bruins on Sunday, the Anteaters will face off against Long Beach State on Saturday. Irvine has been led by leading scorer Dreason Barry, who scored twice against the Bruins back on September 26. In that meeting, the Bruins claimed victory 6-4 in a non-conference contest.
After its convincing victory against UC Santa Barbara over the weekend, UCLA is closing in on its best regular season record since 1972, when the Bruins went 16-1 (.941) before completing their three-match run through the NCAA Championships. Should UCLA win both of its upcoming matches against USC and UC Irvine, the Bruins would finish the regular season 21-2 (.913) with the best winning percentage in 32 years and with the most regular season victories since 1996... The school record for most regular season wins is 27 by the 1988 Bruins who finished 29-5.
STREAKING ON CAMPUS
With its current 14-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... With two wins this weekend, UCLA would tie the 1988 squad for the fifth longest streak in school history at 16.
CLIMBING UP THE LADDER
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 225 behind Alexis Rousseau's school record 290... Senior goalkeeper Joe Axelrad notched his 300th career save on Saturday, Oct. 30 against Stanford as he tallied a season high 14 in the match.
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 the top 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.
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.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
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 9-0 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 111- 32 (.776) 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.
Bruin Win Streaks Matches Dates 50* 1964-1968 24 1968-1970 21 1971-1972 19 11/10/89-10/6/90 16** 9/10/88-10/1/88 15 12/1/95-10/13/96 14 9/25/04- 8 10/16/99-11/12/99
* Won final two matches in `64, went 16-0 in `65, 15-0 in `66, 14-0 in `67 and won first three matches in `68 **Began season 16-0 Exact dates not available before 1988