Sept. 6, 1999
The UCLA men's water polo team (0-0) kicks off the official start to the '99 season Saturday, Sept. 11, by hosting MPSF rival UC Irvine (0-0) for a noon match at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on the UCLA campus.
UCLA VS. UC IRVINE: Saturday marks the 98th meeting between these teams, with the Anteaters' holding a 54-43-1 series advantage. UC Irvine returns 11 letterwinners from a squad which finished 19-8 last season and placed fifth in the national polls. Ted Newland, '998 MPSF Co-Coach of the Year, enters his 34th year at the helm of the Anteaters' water polo program. Senior goalkeeper Genai Kerr (San Diego, Coronado HS), an honorable mention All-American, will lead the UCI charge. Last year he finished first in the MPSF with an average of 10.5 saves per game. Kerr has been slowed by a knee injury suffered while moving a refrigerator but is expected to play Saturday.
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. Last year the Bruins finished with a 17-6 record and a No. three national ranking. This UCLA squad boasts 17 returning letterwinners comprised of six seniors, seven juniors and three 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. 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 as well.
JIM TORING MEMORIAL SCOREBOARD: The Sunset Canyon Recreation Center will have a different look this season with the addition of a new scoreboard dedicated to the late UCLA water polo standout Jim Toring. Toring, a two-time All-American who led UCLA to back-to-back NCAA titles in '96 and '97, died tragically April 20, '98, following an accident that occurred in Paris during a trip with the U.S. National Team.
LAST WEEKEND: The Bruins began the season on a high note in the Wasko Tournament at Pepperdine Saturday, Sept. 4, by sweeping three scrimmage matches against UC Santa Barbara (6-2), UC San Diego (8-3) and Pepperdine (8-7).