Nov. 3, 2006
The third-ranked UCLA men's water polo team travels north this weekend to play second-ranked California on Saturday, Nov. 4 (1:30 p.m.) and sixth-ranked Pacific the following day (12 p.m.). The Bruins lost to California, 8-6, in the SoCal Tournament semifinals on Sunday, Oct. 15. Sunday's match will mark the first meeting of the season between UCLA and Pacific. This weekend's contests are the third and fourth matches of the Bruins' current six-game road trip.
LAST WEEKEND: In their first and only regular-season meeting of the season, UCLA defeated eighth-ranked Loyola Marymount, 7-3, at LMU's Burns Recreation Center. The Bruins held the Lions scoreless in the first half, taking a 3-0 lead at halftime. UCLA led by as many as five goals (6-1 and 7-2) in the non-conference tilt. Seniors Michael March and Logan Powell and sophomore Krsto Sbutega each scored two goals for the Bruins. Freshman Chay Lapin made eight saves in the cage for UCLA.
SIX TO GO: Entering November, UCLA has just six games remaining on the regular-season slate before the season-culminating MPSF Championships from Nov. 24-26. Last season, the Bruins totaled a 12-4 record against the six teams UCLA will face over the final month of this season. The Bruins lost to California, 8-6, on Oct. 15, and defeated UC Irvine, 15-4, on Sept. 22 in Irvine.
IN THE CAGE: Freshman Chay Lapin has posted an impressive 4.86 goals against average, good for second-lowest in the MPSF. He has totaled 57 saves in eight games. Lapin recorded eight saves against eighth-ranked Loyola Marymount and registered a career-best 13 saves against Stanford on Oct. 14 in the SoCal Tournament. Senior Will Didinger has tallied a 5.86 goals against average and collected 40 saves in seven games. UCLA's goalkeeping unit has limited opponents to 80 goals through 14 games while totaling 99 saves.
KRSTO LEADS THE WAY: Sophomore Krsto Sbutega scored two goals against Loyola Marymount on Oct. 28, marking the seventh time this season that he has posted a multiple-goal performance. Sbutega leads the Bruins with 21 goals. In UCLA's last two games, he has scored four goals. This season, he has registered two four-goal efforts (vs. Princeton, Sept. 16; at UC Irvine, Sept. 22).
BALANCED ATTACK: Seven Bruins have registered 10 goals or more through the season's first 12 games. Sophomore Krsto Sbutega (21), senior Logan Powell (19), junior Marco Santos (17) and senior Grant Zider (14) lead the team in that category. UCLA's top four scorers have accounted for 48 percent of the Bruins' goals this season (71/148). The Bruins' three other double-digit goal scorers are freshman Scott Davidson (12), junior Justin Johnson (10) and senior Michael March (10).
THREES ALL AROUND: Not only did UCLA win three games in the 2006 SoCal Tournament, but the Bruins also won three games in September's NorCal Tournament. UCLA finished third at both major tournaments this season. The Bruins have been ranked third in six of seven Top-20 polls this season (No. 4 in week six). UCLA earned a No. 3 rank in the MPSF preseason poll.
AT THE HELM: In his eighth season as head coach of the men's water polo team, Adam Krikorian has tallied an impressive 148-45 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 eight seasons, guiding the women to five national titles. Krikorian played water polo for the Bruins from 1992-95, helping lead the 1995 squad to its first NCAA championship since 1972. Throughout his coaching career, Krikorian has coached 39 All-Americans (selected 69 times) and four Olympians.
FRESH MEN: Four Bruin freshmen have posted impressive debuts this season. Chay Lapin has recorded 57 saves in the cage. Scott Davidson ranks fifth on the squad with 12 goals. Kevin Kuga is tied for eighth on the list with nine goals, and Scott Swanson has registered four goals.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Sunset Canyon Recreation Center at UCLA enters its 42nd year as the home of Bruin water polo. UCLA has played twice at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. The Bruins are 2-0 in home matches this season (Cal Baptist, 21-3; Stanford, 10-8). UCLA has two regular-season games remaining at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center (Nov. 17 vs. Long Beach State; Nov. 19 vs. UC Irvine).