Oct. 8, 2001
UCLA THIS WEEK: After a big conference win over No. 2 USC last Saturday, the third-ranked UCLA men's water polo team takes on the nation's best at the annual NorCal Tournament this weekend at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center. The Bruins' first opponent will be 17th-ranked Air Force at 10:50 a.m. at the Stadium Pool. UCLA then takes on either Long Beach State or Pacific in the second round at either 4:20 (winners) or 5:30 (losers) Saturday afternoon at the Stadium Pool.
LAST WEEKEND: The Bruins (5-1 overall, 3-0 MPSF) maintained a share of first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings by defeating the Trojans 7-5 before 350 fans at Sunset Canyon Rec Center. Freshman driver Brett Ormsby (El Cajon/Valhalla) scored four times and broke a 4-4 tie with 3:45 remaining to put UCLA ahead for good.
USC (3-2, 3-2) went ahead in the third minute as senior Daniel Lontay converted a four-meter penalty shot. But the Trojans held the lead for just 19 seconds as Bruin two-meter Alfonso Tucay (Sr., Burbank/Burroughs) scored to knot the game at 1-1. Ormsby scored twice later in the first quarter, and the score remained 3-1 until halftime.
After Lontay and Tucay traded goals early in the third period, USC scored two power-play goals in the last stages of the quarter to square the match again. But UCLA broke away in the fourth thanks to three unanswered goals in extra-man situations, including two from Ormsby and one from Matt Flesher (Jr., Diamond Bar/Brea Olinda). The Trojans followed with a consolation goal from James Shin.
NORCAL TOURNAMENT: The Avery Aquatic Center is the site of this year's NCAA Final Four, which will be held Dec. 1-2.
Air Force has yet to defeat UCLA in 18 tries all-time. The Falcons held a 5-3 record this season entering a doubleheader last Saturday against Navy and George Washington at Annapolis, Maryland (scores unavailable). Junior two-meter Chris Smith leads the Falcons with 11 goals in eight matches.
The Bruins have previously defeated both of their potential second-round opponents in conference matchups this season. UCLA defeated Long Beach State 8-6 on Sept. 21, then handed Pacific a 15-5 setback on Sept. 29. The Beach (2-2, 1-2) defeated the Tigers (1-6, 0-5) 13-6 on Sept. 28 in another league match. Last weekend, Long Beach State defeated Cal Baptist 13-6 and Pacific fell to California 10-6.
The top four seeds in the tournament are Stanford, USC, UCLA, and Pepperdine. Should the seeds hold form, USC and UCLA would meet in the semifinal round at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday at Stadium Pool. The teams met in the tournament final last season and UCLA won the match in the pool, but later forfeited the title after using an ineligible player.
NATIONAL POLL: The American Water Polo Coaches' Association poll is published at 2 p.m. Pacific time every Wednesday during the regular season ... It can be viewed at www.collegiatewaterpolo.com.