Nov. 10, 2006
The third-ranked UCLA men's water polo team will complete a six-game stretch of road games this weekend when the Bruins face Pepperdine on Saturday and UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. Having split two of four decisions, the Bruins (11-5, 2-2 MPSF) prepare for two pivotal MPSF conference games this weekend. UCLA has not faced Pepperdine or UC Santa Barbara this season.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bruins fell to second-ranked California on Saturday, Nov. 4, before bouncing back the following Sunday afternoon to defeat eighth-ranked Pacific, 11-6. Junior Marco Santos tallied three goals, one assist and one steal against the Tigers. Junior Justin Johnson scored twice against Pacific and once against California. Likewise, Matthew Jcaobs, Tyler Krikorian, Kevin Kuga and Krsto Sbutega each scored one goal in both games. Freshman goalkeeper Chay Lapin collected 13 saves through both games.
FOUR MORE: Entering the first full week of November, UCLA has just four games remaining on the regular-season slate before the season-culminating MPSF Tournament from Nov. 24-26. Last season, the Bruins totaled a 6-1 record against the four teams UCLA will face over the next two weeks. This year, the Bruins defeated UC Irvine on the road, 15-4, on Sept. 22. UCLA returns to the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on Friday, Nov. 17, to face Long Beach State.
IN THE CAGE: Freshman Chay Lapin has posted a 5.30 goals against average in 2006. He has totaled 70 saves in 10 games. Lapin recorded 13 saves over the weekend against California (seven) and Pacific (six). He 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 94 goals through 16 games while totaling 112 saves.
KRSTO LEADS THE WAY: Sophomore Krsto Sbutega scored two goals in two games over the weekend and has posted seven multiple-goal performances this year. Sbutega leads the Bruins with 23 goals. Earlier this season, he registered two four-goal efforts (vs. Princeton, Sept. 16; at UC Irvine, Sept. 22).
BALANCED ATTACK: Eight Bruins have registered 10 goals or more through the season's first 16 games. Sophomore Krsto Sbutega (23) and junior Marco Santos (20) and seniors Logan Powell (19) and Grant Zider (15) lead the team in that category. UCLA's top four scorers have accounted for 46.3 percent of the Bruins' goals this season (77/166). The Bruins' four other double-digit goal scorers are junior Justin Johnson (13), freshman Scott Davidson (13), senior Michael March (12) and freshman Kevin Kuga (11).
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 seven of eight 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 149-46 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 70 saves in the cage. Scott Davidson is tied for fifth on the squad with 13 goals. Kevin Kuga ranks eighth on the list with 11 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 one regular-season game 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 games remaining at the SCRC (Nov. 17 vs. Long Beach State; Nov. 19 vs. UC Irvine).