NCAA Water Polo Champions 2015
No. 2 UCLA Men's Water Polo to Play at NorCal Tournament

Sept. 15, 2010

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LOS ANGELES - UCLA heads to the Bay Area this weekend for the annual NorCal Tournament (Sept. 18-19). The Bruins will play four games in two days, opening this year's tournament against No. 19 Air Force (at Diablo Valley College). The winner of that match will face Pacific or Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, Sept. 18 (at Diablo Valley College)
No. 19 Air Force (3-3) vs. No. 2 UCLA (1-0), 8 a.m.
No. 7 Pacific/No. 10 Long Beach State vs. No. 2 UCLA, 1:20/2:40 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 18 (at DVC or California)
Two opponents and game times to be determined
Winners' bracket at California; Losers' at Diablo Valley College

Senior Ben Hohl scored three goals and the Bruins received two goals each from senior Emilio Vieira and freshman Cristiano Mirarchi to lead UCLA past Concordia, 12-4, in the team's season-opening contest on Saturday, Sept. 11. Junior goalkeeper Andrew Mesesan allowed just one goal in two quarters of action, collecting a season-high nine saves. UCLA improved its all-time record against Concordia to 3-0.

The Bruins return 15 letterwinners this fall, losing five players to graduation. UCLA ended its 2009 campaign losing to USC, 7-6, in the NCAA championship. UCLA won the 2009 MPSF Tournament after having finished fourth in the conference's regular standings with a 5-3 record. Seniors Ben Hohl, Clay Jorth, Kevin Kuga, Jacob Murphy and Emilio Vieira will be counted upon for veteran leadership in 2010.

Over 78 percent of UCLA's scoring output from one season ago returns in 2010. The Bruins' returning letterwinners account for 240 of the team's 305 goals (78.7 pct) from the 2009 campaign. While the Bruins have lost leading scorer and 2009 MPSF Player of the Year honoree Scott Davidson (47 goals), UCLA returns key scorers Ben Hohl (40), Griffin White (33), Josh Samuels (32), Cullen Hennessy (23) and Emilio Vieira (20). Those five players accounted for 48.5 percent of UCLA's total goals in 2009.

Top returning scorer Ben Hohl has had a terrific career at UCLA, scoring 27 goals as a freshman (2007), 33 as a sophomore (2008) and 40 as a junior (2009). The left-handed attacker enters this weekend's tournament having registered 103 career goals in 83 matches (82 starts), while logging 47 assists, 45 steals and 18 blocks. Hohl spent time last February and during the summer playing for the USA National Team, competing at the Volvo Cup (Germany) and at the FINA World Championships (Romania).

Sophomores Griffin White, Josh Samuels and Bret Lathrope proved to be impact freshmen for the Bruins in 2009. White tallied 33 goals, the highest single-season freshman total since Brett Ormsby logged 41 goals as a freshman in 2001. Samuels finished just behind White with 32 goals, while Lathrope saw action in all 30 games and netted 11 goals. Lathrope, Samuels, White and redshirt freshman Chris Wendt spent the summer playing for the USA Junior National Team at the Pan American Games in Pinecrest, Fla.

Junior Andrew Mesesan and sophomore Matt Rapacz each played two quarters in UCLA's season-opening 12-4 victory over Concordia last Saturday. Mesesan and Rapacz will be looked upon to fill the shoes of former four-year starter and four-time All-MPSF selection Chay Lapin (eligibility expired). Mesesan allowed one goal in two quarters (second, fourth periods) against Concordia, notching a career-high nine saves. Rapacz surrendered three goals in two frames (first, third quarters), tallying five saves.

Three players on the Bruins' 2010 roster arrive at UCLA after having grown up outside the United States. Senior Emilio Vieira hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent two years studying at Golden West College (Huntington Beach, Calif.) before enrolling at UCLA in 2009. Freshmen Aimone Barabino and Cristiano Mirarchi call Italy home. Barabino, from Recco, Italy, spent the 2009-10 school year in New York City, attending La Scuola d'Italia, while Mirarchi attended high school in his hometown of Rome.

As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Sept. 15, UCLA has been tabbed No. 2 in the national top-20 rankings. California is ranked No. 1 in this week's poll, while USC, Stanford and UC Irvine complete the top five picks, respectively. UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and Long Beach State round out the top 10 preseason selections, respectively. Last season, UCLA finished the year ranked second in the nation as the NCAA Tournament's runner-up.

UCLA will host nine more regular-season matches at Spieker Aquatics Center this fall, in addition to hosting the SoCal Tournament (Oct. 2-3). In addition to the SoCal Tournament, the Bruins will host MPSF matches against Stanford, UC Irvine, Long Beach State and Pepperdine. Six consecutive home matches will take place within a 16-game span (Oct. 15-31).

Following this weekend's NorCal Tournament, UCLA will host a night game against Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Sept. 25. Game time of the non-conference match versus LMU is 7 p.m. UCLA will host the annual SoCal Tournament the following weekend, with matches taking place at both Spieker Aquatics Center and Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The two-day tournament will feature 16 teams.

Adam Wright begins his second year as UCLA's head coach. The four-year Bruin letterwinner (1997-2000) and a 2001 graduate of UCLA helped lead the Bruins to a 23-7 record and MPSF Tournament title in his first season as the program's head coach (2009). Wright represented the United States on the men's national team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, leading Team USA to the silver medal in 2008.

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