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Men's Water Polo Gearing Up for MPSF Tournament
By: UCLA Athletics

November 23, 1998

This Weekend In Water Polo: The No. 2 Bruins (16-4 overall, 6-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), fresh off a 6-3 victory over No. 1 USC, are headed to Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Conference Tournament. The tournament, held Friday through Sunday, November 27-29, features the top eight conference teams battling for both the MPSF championship, and the bigger prize, an automatic berth to the NCAA finals. An additional conference squad will be granted an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, but the Bruins are setting their sights on bringing home the MPSF title. In order for UCLA to earn an invitation to the four-team NCAA Championships, the tournament winner must be either the Bruins or the arch-rival Trojans.

UCLA received the third seed in the tournament, and is scheduled to meet No. 6 seed Pepperdine in the opening round at 2:30 p.m. Should the Bruins win, they are likely to meet No. 2 seeded UC Irvine (UCLA leads the season series 2-1), with the winner advancing to the MPSF title game, where No. 4 Stanford or No. 1 USC is the probable opponent.

MPSF Tournament Information (Newport Harbor HS, Newport Beach)

Directions from 405 South:

  • take highway 73 and proceed to Irvine Ave, turn right
  • go approx. 4 miles to 15th Street, turn left
  • the school is at the intersection of Irvine and 15th,
  • the pool is in the back

    Schedule: Fri., 2:30 p.m., Sat. 2:30 p.m. (Friday win) or 10:30 a.m. (Friday loss), title match Sun. at 2:30 p.m.
    Cost to students: $5 daily, adults: $10 daily, $15 two-day pass, $20 three-day pass

    Last Week's Recap: UCLA redeemed itself with a 6-3 rematch win over the No. 1 USC Trojans at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center on Saturday. Junior goalkeeper Parsa Bonderson (Santa Barbara, San Marcos HS) pulled down six saves, grabbed three steals, and tallied an assist, while guiding the stifling Bruin defense. Senior co-captain Sam Grayeli (Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa HS) netted three goals to pace UCLA and lead the squad to victory.

    Keep An Eye On: "Six Super Sophomores" Andy Bailey (San Clemente, San Clemente HS), Brian Brown (Santa Ana, Foothill HS), Sean Kern (Honolulu HI, Punahou HS), Dave Parker (Orinda, Miramonte HS), Blake Wellen (Mill Valley, Tamalpais HS), and Adam Wright (Seal Beach, Wilson HS), have taken the squad by storm, accounting for 65% of the total scoring, 70% of the team assists, 64% of steals, and 73% of field saves . Kern is the team's leading scorer, with 47 points, including one two-pointer . He is currently riding a 12 game scoring streak, and has netted goals in all but one of UCLA's '98 matches. In addition, he is responsible for 27% of the Bruin attack, and has already surpassed his goal total from 1997 (41), when he led the squad in scoring as a freshman . Kern averages almost 2.5 goals scored per game . Wright leads the team in assists (20) and steals (26), and follows Kern in field saves, with 13 and 10 . Wright is on a six game scoring streak, and has notched points in seven of the last eight games . Senior veterans Grayeli and Aaron Harries (Anaheim, Canyon HS) balance out the top five scorers with 27 and 14 goals, respectively . Grayeli, who transferred from USC as a freshman, has tallied points in 13 of the last 16 games played . On the defensive end of the pool, netkeeper Bonderson has 152 saves and is posting a 5.95 goals against average. The Academic All-American netkeeper is No. 2 on the MPSF list for fewest points allowed.

    Bonderson Named MPSF Player of the Week For the Second Time in '98: For his impressive performance versus the top-ranked Trojans on Saturday, Bonderson earned a second MPSF Player of the Week honor. The Bruins' man in the cage held USC to only three goals, despite the fact that the Trojans average 11.7 points per game.

    UCLA Leaders' Stats

    Total Points    Shooting %       Assists        Steals         Field Saves
    Kern, 47        Pflueger, 67%    Wright, 20     Wright, 26     Kern, 13
    Grayeli, 27     Kern, 51%        Wellen, 18     Wellen, 23     Wright,10
    Wright, 22      Harries, 48%     A. Bailey, 11  Grayeli, 22    Grayeli, 8
    Parker, 15      Parker, 44%      Hueston, 5     Brown, 20      Parker, 7
    Harries, 14     N. Hueston, 38%  Pflueger, 5    A. Bailey, 17  Brown, 6
    A. Bailey, 11   Palda, 38%       Kern, 5        Kern, 12       Wellen, 4
    Wellen, 9       A. Bailey, 37%   Palda, 4       Harries, 9     Harries, 4
    Brown, 9        Grayeli, 36%     Grayeli, 4     Hueston, 9     A. Bailey, 3

    1998 UCLA Results

    9/5     UC Irvine          W 5-4
    9/19    Pacific            W 12-4
            UC Santa Barbara   W 9-4
    9/20    Pepperdine         W 7-4
            USC                L 7-11
    9/26    UC Santa Barbara   W 9-5
    9/27    Pacific            W 9-8
    10/2    Pepperdine         W 5-4
    10/17   St. Francis        W 18-2
            Long Beach State   W 13-7
    10/18   Stanford           W 7-6 ot
            UC Irvine          L 7-5
    10/24   California         W 7-6
    10/25   Stanford           W 6-4
    10/31   Stanford           L 7-5
    11/1    Long Beach State   W 9-8
    11/6    UC San Diego       W 16-11
    11/8    UC Irvine          W 9-6
    11/15   USC                L 9-6
    11/21   USC                W 6-3    

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