Sept. 23, 2002
USC TROJANS: After a break from intercollegiate play with its annual Alumni match, the UCLA men's water polo team will open up Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play against cross-town rival and sixth-ranked USC in a 1:00 pm match at McDonald's Swim Stadium.
The Bruins own a 62-55-1 edge in the series with the Trojans, including a 9-7 overtime win over USC in the fifth-place match at this year's So Cal Tournament which was held at USC. UCLA edged out the Trojans behind overtime goals from Peter Belden and freshman Michael March, who scored the first three goals of his collegiate career in the contest.
The Trojans enter the week 8-2 overall, 1-0 in MPSF action with last weekend's win over second-ranked UC Irvine. Their only losses came at the So Cal Tournament with a 8-7 defeat at the hands of Pacific and the 9-7 loss to the Bruins. Gadi Hadar leads the team with 17 goals in only ten matches, while Stephen Lipinski trails closely with 15 scores. Goalkeeper Bozidar Damajanovic ranks second in the MPSF, behind Stanford's Nick Ellis, allowing 5.13 goals and averaging 9.67 saves per match.
LAST WEEKEND: UCLA took a break from competition with its annual Alumni match. Despite keeping it close for most of the match, the current Bruins fell 10-8 to the former Bruins, who were led by former NCAA Player of the Year Sean Kern.
THE LEXUS GAUNTLET TROPHY: This weekend's meeting with USC will mark the second competition in the year-long Lexus Gauntlet Trophy competition. The Lexus Gauntlet Trophy will be awarded to the institution that wins the most head-to-head competitions in all sports between the schools. Currently, the Bruins lead the Trojans after their 9-7 overtime win in the So Cal Tournament. For more information on the Trophy and current point standings, go to www.gauntlettrophy.com
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Sophomore driver Brett Ormsby and senior center defender Matt Flesher leads UCLA with seven goals each in only five matches, while sophomore driver Josh Hewko has tallied five scores in the young season. Senior goalkeeper Brandon Brooks is allowing 6.63 goals and averaging 8.80 saves per match.
BRUINS IN THE POLL: UCLA moved up to the fourth ranking, after a week in the sixth-spot, in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Poll after its fifth-place finish in the So Cal Tournament. The new poll will not be released until Wednesday, September 25th.