Nov. 12, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA men's water polo team plays its final regular-season match on Sunday against No. 10 UC Santa Barbara at Spieker Aquatics Center. The Bruins look to close their MPSF record with a winning mark before entering the conference tournament in two weeks.
THIS WEEK'S MATCH
Sunday, November 15 - 1 p.m. - at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (12-11, 1-4 MPSF) at No. 4 UCLA (18-6, 4-3 MPSF)
All-Time Series vs. UC Santa Barbara: UCLA leads, 88-16-1
This Season vs. UC Santa Barbara: First meeting
AGAINST THE GAUCHOS
The Bruins welcome UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, Nov. 15, with the opening sprint slated for 1 p.m. UCLA will honor its five seniors in a short pregame ceremony. The Bruins have yet to face UC Santa Barbara this season and won the last meeting by an 11-4 decision (Nov. 15, 2008). UC Santa Barbara plays No. 7 UC Irvine on Saturday before facing UCLA on Sunday.
BRUINS EDGED BY USC
No. 4 UCLA dropped a 7-6 decision to No. 1 USC on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Spieker Aquatics Center. The Bruins received a game-high and season-best four goals from senior Scott Davidson. UCLA led by a 6-5 margin after three quarters before USC scored two unanswered goals to seal the MPSF victory. Senior goalkeeper Chay Lapin totaled nine saves for the host Bruins.
MOVING UP THE CHART
Senior Scott Davidson moved into sole possession of seventh place on UCLA's career goals list last Saturday. His four-goal effort against No. 1 USC handed the veteran attacker 141 career goals, three ahead of current head coach Adam Wright (8th place, 138), one behind Chris Kellerman (6th place, 142) and two behind former teammate Krsto Sbutega (5th place, 143).
Senior goalkeeper Chay Lapin enters this weekend's match with 673 career saves, seven shy of third place on UCLA's all-time saves list. Lapin has totaled 30 saves in his last two matches, highlighted by a career-best 21-save effort at Long Beach State on Sunday, Nov. 1. The native of Long Beach, Calif., is 22 saves short of second place (Matt Swanson, 695) and 27 behind first place (Brandon Brooks, 700).
UCLA continues its season at the 2009 MPSF Tournament from Nov. 27-29 at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium. The winner of the MPSF Tournament will earn an automatic berth to play at the 2009 NCAA Tournament, slated to take place Dec. 5-6 at Princeton University in New Jersey. Last season, the Bruins finished fourth at the MPSF Tournament.
Freshmen Josh Samuels and Griffin White have each scored 27 goals, tied for the second-highest total on the team. Each player's 27-goal total is tied for the most goals scored by a freshman since current junior Ben Hohl equaled 27 in 2007. Former standout Krsto Sbutega notched 28 goals as a freshman (2005), and former NCAA Player of the Year honoree Brett Ormsby logged 43 goals as a freshman (2001).
GOALS FOR COLE
Senior Cole Consani has emerged as one of the Bruins' most consistent scoring threats at the center position. The native of Manhattan Beach, Calif., ranks fifth on the team with 22 goals in 24 matches. Consani scored at least one goal in each of UCLA's first eight matches and has scored in three of the team's last four contests. He has registered five multiple-goal games in his final season at UCLA.
Among UCLA's most consistent scoring threats, junior Ben Hohl has scored 26 goals (fourth-most on the team) in 24 matches. Hohl tied his season high with a three-goal effort against Long Beach State at the UCI Invitational (Oct. 10). He has played in all 72 matches since arriving in Westwood as a true freshman in 2007. He scored 27 goals that fall before recording 33 goals as a sophomore in 2008.
Sophomore Cullen Hennessy has made an immediate impact for UCLA this season. Hennessy has scored 20 goals in 24 matches and produced one of the team's most memorable highlights of the fall. The resident of Fairfax, Calif., scored the game-winning goal against No. 1 USC with three seconds remaining to snap a 4-4 tie in a semifinal match at the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 20).
Seniors Cole Consani, Scott Davidson and Chay Lapin have earned recognition this fall as MSPF Co-Player of the Week selections. Consani tied for the team lead with 11 goals in four matches at the Princeton Invitational (Sept. 11-13) before earning the weekly award on Sept. 14. Lapin registered 26 goals in two MPSF road matches two weeks ago, highlighted by a 21-save effort at Long Beach State (Nov. 1). Davidson earned the award after scoring a game-high four goals in UCLA's 7-6 loss to USC on Nov. 7.
AROUND THE MPSF
With a 4-3 MPSF record, the Bruins currently rest in fourth place in the conference standings. The Bruins' offense has averaged 10.74 goals per game, ranking fourth in the conference. UCLA's defense has allowed 5.54 goals per game, the third-lowest mark in the country behind USC and Stanford.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on Nov. 11, UCLA has been tabbed No. 4 in the top-20 rankings. USC secured the No. 1 spot after winning the UCI Invitational (Oct. 10-11). California is ranked second, Stanford third, UCLA fourth and Pepperdine fifth. Rounding out the top 10 schools, respectively, are Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Concordia and UC Santa Barbara.
The Bruins opened the 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 is in his 14th season coaching the men's water polo team. UCLA opened its new home with a 10-4 non-conference victory over UC Irvine on Sept. 26.