Sept. 13, 2006
After two weekends featuring exhibition competition, UCLA's men's water polo team will open its 2006 season Thursday, Sept. 14 when the Bruins host Cal Baptist at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
VS. CAL BAPTIST: The Bruins own a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series against the Lancers. UCLA downed Cal Baptist twice in 2004 and in back-to-back contests in 2003.
HIT THE ROAD: This weekend, UCLA will travel to Palo Alto, Calif. for the NorCal Tournament (hosted by Stanford). UCLA will face Princeton at 10:40 a.m. at Stanford's Belardi Pool. The winner of that match will battle the winner of the Pepperdine-UC David contest later that afternoon. Each participating school will play twice on Sunday, Sept. 17.
EXHIBITION: UCLA took to the water on Saturday, Sept. 9, in a home exhibition contest against several UCLA alumni and former U.S. National Team members. Junior Marco Santos scored three goals to lead the Bruins to an 8-6 preseason victory. Coming back from a season-ending back injury in 2005, senior Michael March netted two goals for the Bruins. Senior goalkeeper Will Didinger and freshman goalkeeper Chay Lapin split time in net, as each goalkeeper allowed three goals in two quarters.
PRESEASON POLLS: The Bruins have been ranked third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's preseason coaches poll. UCLA received 54 total points (one first-place vote). Defending national champion USC and California are ranked first and second, respectively, in the MPSF preseason poll. Last season, UCLA finished the season fourth in the competitive MPSF conference. Both Stanford and USC were the two MPSF representatives in the 2005 NCAA Final Four.
SENIORITY: UCLA returns seven seniors, six of which contributed last season. The Bruins welcome back defender Michael March, who missed the 2005 campaign with an injured back, and defender Brad Greiner, who sat out the 2005 season. In all, UCLA returns 15 players from last season's roster. Similarly, 13 Bruins from the 2004 national championship team will be in action this fall (12 of those players competed in 2005 and in 2006).
DON'T BE OFFENDED: Four of UCLA's top five goal scorers from 2005 return this season -- seniors Logan Powell and Grant Zider, junior Justin Johnson and sophomore Krsto Sbutega. Those four players registered a combined 111 goals scored, roughly 37 percent of UCLA's offensive output. In all, the returning Bruins accounted for 76 percent of the team's 2005 goal production.