Oct. 6, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA men's water polo team will play in the UCI Invitational on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 10-11). The Bruins (10-2) will open tournament play with a first-round match Saturday against Redlands at Corona del Mar High School (8:30 a.m.). UCLA will face Long Beach State or Navy later that afternoon. The Bruins finished second at the NorCal Tournament three weeks ago, dropping a 6-5 decision to Stanford in the title match.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
No. 2 UCLA (10-2) at UCI Invitational
Saturday, Oct. 10 - Sunday, Oct. 11
UCLA went 1-1 on a road trip to No. 1 Stanford and No. 11 Santa Clara over the weekend. The Bruins dropped their MPSF-opening contest at Stanford, 8-6, on Saturday. UCLA responded with an 11-5 victory at Santa Clara on Sunday. Senior Scott Davidson led the Bruins over the weekend, scoring two goals in each game. Senior goalkeeper Chay Lapin totaled 19 saves through both matches.
Senior Scott Davidson has etched his name in UCLA's history book the last two weeks. Most recently, Davidson scored two goals in an 11-5 win at Santa Clara to move into a tie for 10th place on UCLA's career goals scored list (123 goals, tied with Scott Turner). In addition, the native of Seal Beach, Calif., scored the first goal at UCLA's new Spieker Aquatics Center in a 10-4 win over UC Irvine on Sept. 26.
Among UCLA's most consistent scoring threats, junior Ben Hohl has scored 14 goals (tied, third-most on team) in 12 matches. Hohl has scored in all but two games this fall. The left-hander from Atherton, Calif., has played in all 64 matches since arriving in Westwood as a true freshman in 2007. He scored 27 goals on 61 attempts as a freshman (2007) before recording 33 goals on 78 attempts as a sophomore (2008).
Sophomore Cullen Hennessy has made an immediate impact for UCLA this season. Hennessy has scored 11 goals in 10 matches and produced the team's most memorable highlight of the fall, to date. The resident of Fairfax, Calif., scored the game-winning goal against then-No. 1 USC with three seconds remaining to snap a 4-4 tie in a semifinal match at the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 20).
Several true freshmen have made immediate contributions on a UCLA team that features 19 newcomers (17 freshmen). Josh Samuels is tied with senior Scott Davidson for the team lead in goals with 18. Griffin White has added nine goals, including one season-high three goal effort. Bret Lathrope has collected seven goals, highlighted by a four-goal game against Iona.
Having played 12 matches heading into the first full week of October, UCLA has reached the midpoint of its regular season. The Bruins have 13 matches remaining on their regular-season slate, highlighted by this weekend's UCI Invitational and six remaining MPSF matches. UCLA has won 10 of its first 12 matches for the fourth time in its last six seasons (also in 2004, 2005 and 2007).
IN THE CAGE
Senior Chay Lapin has recorded 77 saves in 12 matches, having played just over 29 quarters. Lapin has tallied a 3.42 goals against average. The native of Long Beach, Calif., collected a season-high 11 saves in UCLA's 5-4 win over then-No. 1 USC. Freshman Matt Rapacz has tallied 35 saves in eight matches, compiling a 2.38 goals against average. Rapacz finished the five-game Princeton Invitational with 24 saves in 10 quarters. UCLA's goalkeepers have registered a 5.00 goals against average.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior center Cole Consani earned MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors after scoring 11 goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational. The resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., tied for UCLA's team lead that weekend with 11 goals (with Josh Samuels). Consani earned the weekly honor with UC Irvine's Greg Enloe, securing MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
DON'T BE OFFENDED
UCLA returns over 72 percent of its scoring output from one season ago. The Bruins' returning letterwinners account for 161 of the team's 222 goals (72.5 pct) from the 2008 campaign. Aside from the loss of leading scorer Krsto Sbutega (50), the Bruins welcome back the return of key scorers Scott Davidson (34), Ben Hohl (33), Jacob Murphy (21), Scott Swanson (18) and Cullen Hennessy (14).
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on Sept. 30, UCLA has been tabbed No. 2 in the top-20 rankings. Stanford claimed the No. 1 spot after having won the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 19-20). USC, California and Loyola Marymount round out the top five teams, respectively. Following Loyola Marymount, in order, is UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, UC Irvine and Navy.
The Bruins have opened their season with a new head coach and home pool. Former two-time Olympian Adam Wright, a four-year UCLA water polo letterwinner (1997-2000), was named head coach in the offseason and works with Adam Krikorian, associate head coach who enters his 14th season coaching the men's water polo team. UCLA opened its new home with a 10-4 victory over UC Irvine on Sept. 26.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Bruins have five home matches remaining on their 2009 slate. UCLA returns home to host California in its first MPSF contest at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday, Oct. 16. The Bruins will play a doubleheader against Pacific and Chapman on Sunday, Oct. 25. UCLA concludes its regular season schedule with back-to-back home MPSF matches - versus USC (Nov. 7) and UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 15).