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No. 2 UCLA Men's Water Polo to Host Pepperdine on Friday Night

Sept. 21, 2011

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LOS ANGELES - The No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team hosts No. 5 Pepperdine on Friday at 7 p.m. before playing at No. 11 Loyola Marymount on Saturday at 2 p.m. Admission to Friday's game costs $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under). Fans can listen to a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at on Friday evening.

No. 5 Pepperdine (6-1) at No. 2 UCLA (5-1)
Friday, Sept. 23 - 7 p.m.
at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center

No. 2 UCLA (5-1) at No. 11 Loyola Marymount (4-2)
Saturday, Sept. 24 - 2 p.m.
at LMU's Burns Aquatics Center

Bruins Finish Second at NorCal
UCLA won its first three games at the NorCal Tournament last weekend before losing to USC, 10-8, in the championship match on Sunday night. The Bruins earned victories over Air Force (21-4) and UC Santa Barbara (13-10) on Saturday before edging California (6-5) in a semifinal on Sunday afternoon. Junior Josh Samuels led UCLA with nine goals in four tournament contests. The Bruins earned their third consecutive second-place finish at the annual NorCal Tournament. UCLA lost to USC in the championship game last year and to Stanford in the title match in 2009.

SoCal Tournament Approaches
After playing games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount this weekend, the Bruins will play in the annual SoCal Tournament next weekend (Oct. 1-2). Last season, UCLA hosted the SoCal Tournament and lost in the championship match to USC, 9-8, after defeating UC Irvine, 8-6, in the semifinal round. Next weekend's matches will be hosted by Long Beach State at the school's Campus Pool and at the USA Water Polo National Training Center located at the Joint Forces Training Center in Los Alamitos, Calif.

Five Return from Junior Worlds
Junior Josh Samuels, sophomore Chris Wendt and freshman Alex Wherry competed at the Junior World Championships earlier this month for the USA Junior National Team (ninth place). Sophomore Aimone Barabino and Cristiano Mirarchi played for the Italian Junior National Team (fifth place) at the week-long event in Volos, Greece. All five UCLA players were competing at the Junior World Championships through Labor Day weekend and did not return to the Bruins until after the UCLA Invitational on Sept. 3

Recent Tournament History
UCLA has advanced to the finals in four of the last five in-season tournaments (NorCal, SoCal Tournaments). In 2009, UCLA lost to Stanford in the NorCal Tournament finals. In 2010, the Bruins dropped one-goal decisions to USC at the SoCal and NorCal Tournaments. Last weekend, UCLA finished second at the NorCal Tournament. UCLA won the 2009 MPSF Tournament, finished second at the 2009 NCAA Tournament and finished fourth at the 2010 MPSF Tournament.

UCLA's Schedule Breakdown
The Bruins will play five more matches at home this fall, including key MPSF showdowns against California (Oct. 7), Pacific (Nov. 4), USC (Nov. 18) and UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 19). UCLA has nine games scheduled on the road that will not be tournament contests. The Bruins' next home match is against Pepperdine on Friday, Sept. 23.

Hennessy Serves as Team Captain
Fifth-year senior Cullen Hennessy will lead UCLA as its team captain in 2011. Hennessy has been a significant contributor his previous three seasons. Last year, he started 23 matches, totaling 21 goals, 13 assists and 11 steals. In 2009, he scored 23 goals and led UCLA with 27 assists, leading the team to the championship match at the NCAA Tournament. He scored 14 goals in 24 games as a freshman in 2008.

Wright on Deck for Year Three
The Bruins are led by third-year head coach Adam Wright, who has compiled a 44-13 record as the program's head coach. Wright played at UCLA from 1997-2000, helping lead the Bruins to NCAA Championships in 1999 and 2000. He played for the USA National Team in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, leading Team USA to a silver medal in 2008 in Beijing. Wright has played for the National Team in every major international tournament since 2001.

Follow UCLA Water Polo on Twitter (UCLAWaterPolo)
Fans can receive in-game updates of UCLA's home games in addition to weekly news and other updates about the UCLA men's and women's water polo programs on Twitter (UCLAWaterPolo).

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