Nov. 15, 1999
UP NEXT FOR THE BRUINS: The UCLA men's water polo team concludes its regular season schedule this weekend as the Bruins travel to meet cross-town rival USC for a 10 a.m. non-conference game Saturday at the McDonald's Swim Staduim prior to the UCLA-USC football game. The Bruins, winners of nine-straight games, have an overall record of 17-2 and are the top-ranked team in the nation. Last weekend the Bruins secured the No. 1 seed to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with a perfect 8-0 conference record after defeating USC 7-5 last Friday. The third-ranked Trojans enter Saturday's game with an overall record of 19-4 and 6-2 in MPSF action. USC will enter the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed, while Stanford has secured the second seed.
LAST WEEKEND'S RECAP: In front of the season's largest crowd at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, the Bruins emerged victorious in a hard fought battle with USC, defeating the Trojans 7-5 last Friday. Playing in the final home game of his collegiate career, senior Matt Armato scored two goals, including the game-winner, to lead the Bruins over their cross-town rival. UCLA never trailed in the game, but USC battled back to tie the score twice in the first half. With a 3-3 tie, Armato netted the eventual game-winner with 56 seconds remaining before the halftime buzzer. Armato scored again in the third quarter to give the Bruins a 5-3 cushion. USC answered with a goal from junior George Csaszar and threatened to tie when UCLA junior Brian Brown was called for a penalty, giving the Trojans a penalty shot. But true freshman Brandon Brooks made an outstanding save on a hard shot from Trojan sophomore Jordan Hewko, preserving the Bruin lead which UCLA never relinquished. Also scoring for the Bruins were juniors Adam Wright (2 goals), Andy Bailey, Brown and Sean Kern.
ARMATO NAMED MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Armato earned MPSF Player of the Week honors for his two goals vs. USC last Friday. He is the second Bruin to earn such honors, as Kern was awarded for his game-winning goal with 22 seconds left in UCLA's 6-5 upset victory over previously unbeaten Stanford, Sept. 25.
USC NOTES: After the loss to the Bruins last Friday, the Trojans bounced back to defeat Long Beach State 9-6 Sunday at the McDonald's Swim Stadium. USC has not lost back-to-back matches yet this season. Csaszar scored three goals to lead the Trojan attack against fifth-ranked Long Beach State. Senior driver Allen Basso leads the team in scoring with 43 points, while Csaszar and sophomore Ivan Babic have scored 27 and 26 points respectively. USC defeated UCLA earlier this season in the championship game of the NorCal Tournament at Stanford, 7-6. Saturday's game will be the rubber match of the season series. UCLA leads the all-time series 57-51-1.
BRUIN NOTABLES: The last time the Bruins finished the regular MPSF season with a perfect 8-0 record was 1995, a year in which they won an NCAA championship title ... UCLA's nine-game win streak is the longest since the Bruins opened the 1996 season winning 13 games in a row and ended up winning their second consecutive NCAA title ... So far this season, three Bruins have scored at least 30 points (Wright 36, Armato 35, Kern 33), the most since 1996 when four Bruins finished the season with at least 30 points'Brown still lingers close behind with 28 points.
PLAYOFF ACTION AHEAD: As the No. 1 seed, UCLA will face either UCSB or UC Irvine Friday, Nov. 26 at 3 p.m. for its first game in the MPSF conference tournament at UC Irvine. If the Bruins win, they will face either Cal or Long Beach State at noon on Saturday, Nov. 27. The MPSF championship game will be held Sunday, Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m.