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Water Polo NCAA Champs
 

No. 3 UCLA to Open Season at No. 10 Loyola Marymount
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  09/04/2007

Sept. 4, 2007

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ON DECK
No. 3 UCLA at No. 10 Loyola Marymount
LMU's Burns Recreation Center
Thursday, Sept. 6 (3 p.m.)

WHAT'S NEXT: Third-ranked UCLA opens its 2007 season at No. 10 Loyola Marymount on Thursday, Sept. 6. Game time of the season opener is slated for 3 p.m. at LMU's Burns Recreation Center. The Bruins travel to the University of Redlands on Saturday to compete in the Inland Empire Classic. UCLA will face Pomona-Pitzer (10:20 a.m.), Occidental (1 p.m.) and Redlands (3:40 p.m.) in the Inland Empire Classic.

THREES ALL AROUND: After finishing the 2006 season ranked third in the nation with a third-place finish at the MPSF Tournament, UCLA opens its 2007 campaign as the No. 3 team in the nation. The Bruins were selected to finished third in the 2007 MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll. Conferences foes USC and California were slated to finish first and second, respectively.

BACK IN ACTION: The Bruins return two of their top three goal scorers from one year ago - junior Krsto Sbutega and senior Marco Santos. Sbutega, who hails from Montenegro, tallied 30 goals last fall. Santos, born in Brazil, recorded 27 goals. Other offensive threats returning this fall include sophomore Scott Davidson (22) and seniors Justin Johnson (15) and Matthew Jacobs (13).

HOME SWEET HOME: After playing just three games at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center last fall, the Bruins will host five matches at home this season in addition to two games at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center prior to football contests later in the day. UCLA kicks off its home slate against UC Irvine on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. The Bruins will also host Pacific, USC, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine on campus. UCLA will play Brown and Cal at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center.

IN THE CAGE: Sophomore goalkeeper Chay Lapin recorded a 4.87 goals against average in 15 starts last season, totaling a team-best 110 saves in 55 quarters. The honorable mention All-America selection will compete for playing time this fall with senior Matt Kellogg, who saw action in two games last season. Kellogg, one of five seniors on the 2007 Bruin team, recorded eight saves and allowed just one goal in two matches.

SBUTEGAN SENSATION: Junior Krsto Sbutega finished second on the team last fall with 30 goals and led the Bruins with 21 assists and 17 steals. Sbutega earned third-team All-America accolades after being selected a first-team All-MPSF selection in 2006. A talented scholar-athlete majoring in mechanical engineering, Sbutega has twice earned All-Academic honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC).

MIDDLE MAN: Senior Marco Santos looks to provide the Bruins with a strong offensive threat at the center position. After starting 22 of 23 matches one season ago, Santos returns in 2007 as one of the Bruins' most experienced veterans. Last fall, Santos scored 27 goals on 63 attemtps and led UCLA with 36 earned exclusions. Santos registered a season-best four goals in a 12-3 victory over UC San Diego and finished the season earning honorable mention All-America accolades.

MR. VERSATILE: Senior Justin Johnson returns to the pool in 2007 as the Bruins' most versatile weapon. A scoring threat and defensive presence, Johnson earned honorable mention All-MPSF accolades last fall after scoring 15 goals on 31 attempts in all 23 matches. The Mission Viejo, Calif., resident collected 12 steals and seven assists and has scored 40 career goals entering this season. As a sophomore, Johnson played in 27 matches, registering 24 goals on 53 attempts while accruing 10 steals.

REPRESENTIN': Redshirt sophomores Chay Lapin and Scott Davidson spent a portion of the summer competing in Europe for the U.S. Junior National Men's Water Polo Team. Both Bruins returned home in August to lead Team USA to a sixth-place finish at the 2007 FINA Junior World Championships in Los Alamitos, Calif. While in Europe, Lapin was named the outstanding goalkeeper of the Tatras Cup in Slovakia.

AT THE HELM: In his ninth season as head coach of the men's water polo team, Adam Krikorian has tallied an impressive 155-47 career record at UCLA, his alma mater (class of 1997), while leading the Bruins to three NCAA titles. He has also served as the women's water polo head coach for nine seasons, guiding the women to six national titles. Krikorian played water polo for the Bruins from 1992-95, helping lead the 1995 squad to its first NCAA championship since 1972.


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