Sept. 16, 2009
NorCal Tournament Central
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA men's water polo team returns to the road for the annual NorCal Tournament this weekend, Sept. 19-20 at Stanford University. The Bruins open their four-game weekend against No. 10 Concordia on Saturday (11:10 a.m., Belardi Pool) before playing Loyola Marymount or UC San Diego in the afternoon.
NO. 4 UCLA (5-0) at NORCAL TOURNAMENT
all games to be played at Stanford University (Belardi and Avery Pools)
Saturday, Sept. 19
vs. No. 10 Concordia - 11:10 a.m. (Belardi Pool at Stanford)
vs. No. 5 Loyola Marymount or No. 17 UC San Diego - TBD
Sunday, Sept. 20
two matches - TBD
A LOOK BACK
UCLA won each of its five matches at the Princeton Invitational (Sept. 11-13), outscoring its opposition by a 81-25 margin. The Bruins opened the season with a 17-4 victory over No. 11 Princeton on national television (ESPNU) on Friday, Sept. 11. UCLA cruised past Brown, 15-5, and Iona, 20-6, on Saturday. The Bruins capped their weekend with victories over Johns Hopkins (14-7) and No. 20 Bucknell (15-3).
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior center Cole Consani earned MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors after having scored 11 goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational (Sept. 11-13). The resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., tied for UCLA's team lead on the 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. Consani netted two three-goal games, two two-goal efforts and had one goal against Bucknell.
The Bruins opened their season with a new head coach and will open a state-of-the-art aquatics facility, Spieker Aquatics Center, later this month. Former 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 will open Spieker Aquatics Center against UC Irvine in a non-conference tilt scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26 (7 p.m.).
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 attackers Scott Davidson (34), Ben Hohl (33), Jacob Murphy (21), Scott Swanson (18) and Cullen Hennessy (14).
Senior Scott Davidson and Scott Swanson will be counted on for offensive production and leadership in 2009. Davidson enters his senior season having scored at least 22 goals in each of his first three seasons. He led UCLA with a career-best 49 goals in 27 matches as a sophomore in 2007. Swanson has registered 18 goals each of the last two years and has played in 71 career matches for the Bruins.
Junior center Jacob Murphy made significant strides as a sophomore in 2008, having collected 21 saves in 53 attempts, primarily from the two-meter position. He finished fourth on the team in goals scored before securing MPSF All-Academic Team honors. Murphy spent the summer of 2009 playing for the United States on a team of collegiate players at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.
Among UCLA's most consistent scoring threats the last two seasons, junior Ben Hohl has played in all 52 matches since arriving in Westwood as a true freshman in 2007. The native of Atherton, Calif., scored 27 goals on 61 attempts as a freshman (2007) before recording 33 goals on 78 attempts as a sophomore (2008). Hohl has registered career totals with 60 goals, 139 attempts, 33 assists, 28 steals and 12 blocks.
UCLA welcomes 19 newcomers, including 17 true freshmen, to the program this season. Among one of UCLA's largest recruiting classes in recent years, head coach Adam Wright looks for several true freshmen to contribute from the start. The Bruins welcome CIF Southern Section Player of the Year selections Griffin White (Division I) and Josh Samuels (Division II), in addition to five first-team All-CIF selections and three-time All-Illinois state selection Chris Wendt.
IN THE CAGE
Senior Chay Lapin and freshman Matt Rapacz split time in goal at the Princeton Invitational last weekend. Each goalkeeper played 10 quarters through five games at Princeton. Lapin, a three-time All-MPSF selection, registered 18 saves and a 2.40 goals against average. Rapacz, who redshirted the 2008 season, logged a 2.20 goals against average and tallied 24 saves for the Bruins. Between both goalkeepers, UCLA registered a 5.00 goals against average through its first five games of the season.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Sept. 16, UCLA has been tabbed No. 4 in the national top-20 water polo rankings. USC and Stanford are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, while California, UCLA and Loyola Marymount round out the top five. Following in order are No. 6 UC Santa Barbara, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 8 UC Irvine, No. 9 Long Beach State and No. 10 Concordia.
UCLA's home schedule opens when the Bruins take on UC Irvine on Saturday, Sept. 26. That contest will mark the first major athletic event to take place at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center, located adjacent to Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Prior to the game against UC Irvine, the UCLA athletic department will honor several of the key benefactors of the new, state-of-the-art aquatics facility.
HOME SWEET HOME
In addition to hosting UC Irvine on Sept. 26, the Bruins will play five other home matches this fall. UCLA hosts California in its first MPSF contest at Spieker Aquatics Center on Oct. 16. The Bruins will play a doubleheader against Pacific and Chapman on 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).