Aug. 30, 1999
Kicking Off The 1999 Campaign: Anxious to get back into the water, the UCLA men's water polo squad will meet its first test of the season in the Wasko Tournament Saturday, Sept. 4, held at Pepperdine's Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool. This is a scrimmage tournament, and games will not be included in the squad's win-loss record.
The Bruins begin the day with an 8:30 a.m. match vs. UC Santa Barbara (6-16 overall record in '98), followed by games against UC San Diego (18-12) at 11 a.m. and host Pepperdine (13-11) at 1 p.m. UCSB returns 13 letterwinners from the '98 squad which finished ninth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings. The UC San Diego Tritons claimed the Western Water Polo Association title and went on to finish third in the NCAA championships in '98. Pepperdine earned second place in the MPSF championships and returns 14 letterwinners.
UCLA Season Outlook: Co-head coaches Guy Baker and Adam Krikorian have an experienced and confident core of veterans ready to take the pool in '99. This UCLA squad boasts 17 returning letterwinners comprised of six seniors, eight juniors and two sophomores.
Looking to lead the Bruins back into the national playoff picture are returning All-American juniors Sean Kern (Honolulu, HI, Punahou HS) and Adam Wright (Seal Beach, Wilson HS) who played for the World University Games team this past summer in Spain. Kern led UCLA in scoring last year with 51 points, while Wright topped all Bruins in steals (23) and assists (32). Senior attacker Matt Armato (Long Beach, Wilson HS), back from redshirting last season, will add speed and stellar outside shooting to the UCLA arsenal.
At the other end of the pool, the Bruins will rely upon the netkeeping abilities of senior Academic All-American Parsa Bonderson (Santa Barbara, San Marcos HS). The 6-2 goalkeeper came into his own last season, pulling down a career high 187 saves. On defense, juniors Andrew Bailey (San Clemente, San Clemente HS), Blake Wellen (Mill Valley, Tamalpais HS) and Dave Parker (Orinda, Miramonte HS) figure to be major contributors.
Also playing important roles will be seniors Neil Hueston (Newport Beach, Corona del Mar HS) amd James Palda (Newport Beach, Corona del Mar HS), along with sophomore Brian Brown (Santa Ana, Foothill HS).
Up Next For the Bruins: UCLA will officially open the season Saturday, Sept. 11 as the Bruins host MPSF rival UC Irvine for a noon match at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.