Nov. 25, 2003
UCLA FACES OFF WITH PEPPERDINE IN FIRST ROUND OF THE MPSF TOURNAMENT:
Due to MPSF tiebreakers, the Bruins (18-6, 7-1) will get the third seed in the MPSF Tournament, with USC claiming the top spot and Stanford with the second seed after the three teams tied for first place in the conference. The Bruins will face-off with sixth-seeded Pepperdine (17-7, 3-5) in the first round of the tournament, which will be held at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.
UCLA has battled the Waves three times in 2003, with Pepperdine holding a 2-1 advantage. However, both Pepperdine wins came in the first two weeks of the season. The Bruins claimed the latest victory with a 7-6 conference win on November 15th.
Senior Jesse Smith leads the Wave attack with 47 goals in only 19 matches this season. His game-high of six goals scored is also tops on the squad. Goalkeeper Ben Tait spearheads the Pepperdine defensive effort, averaging seven saves per contest. He is also allowing only 6.04 goals a match.
BRUINS FINISH REGULAR SEASON WITH HEARTBREAKING LOSS AT USC:
After upsetting the top-ranked Trojans (19-3, 7-1) earlier this season in an overtime match at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, the Bruins fell victim to the same, suffering a 7-6 overtime loss at McDonald's Swim Stadium on Saturday.
Despite holding a 6-5 advantage with 1:02 left in regulation play, UCLA was unable to keep the lead when Trojan James Shin evened the match with 15 seconds left. Predrag Damjanov scored the game-winner in the final minute of the second overtime period to seal the win for USC.
Brett Ormsby posted a game-high three goals, while Josh Hewko, Chris Pulido and John Blanchette each scored. Joseph Axelrad was once again tremendous in the cage with 10 saves and allowing seven goals in 34 minutes of action.
BRUINS IN THE POLL:
The Bruins will head into the postseason in firm grasp of the fourth spot in last week's Collegiate Coaches Water Polo Poll after staying in that ranking for the past four weeks. The poll is released every Wednesday during the season and can be found at www.collegiatewaterpolo.org.
HEAD COACH Adam Krikorian:
A bastion of the UCLA men's water polo program as a player and coach, Adam Krikorian is in his fifth season as head coach for both the men's and women's programs and his 10th season on the Bruin staff. After sharing the head coaching duties with Guy Baker for two seasons, Krikorian is in his third season alone at the helm of the two programs. A winner of nine national championships as a player and a coach, Krikorian has emassed a 90-29 record in his five seasons with the UCLA men's team. He is second among active water polo coaches in NCAA Championships won with two.