Sept. 8, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA men's water polo team begins the season at the Princeton Invitational on Friday, Sept. 11. The Bruins will face Princeton before a national television audience on ESPNU (3 p.m., PT). The round-robin style tournament continues Saturday, when UCLA takes on Brown and Iona. The Bruins will face Johns Hopkins and Bucknell before returning to Los Angeles on Sunday. UCLA will play Johns Hopkins for the first time in program history on Sunday morning.
NO. 3 UCLA (0-0) at PRINCETON INVITATIONAL
all games to be played at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool
Friday, Sept. 11
at Princeton (0-0) - 3 p.m. (PT)
Saturday, Sept. 12
vs. Brown (2-1) - 9:15 a.m. (PT)
vs. Iona (1-3) - 4:45 p.m. (PT)
Sunday, Sept. 13
vs. Johns Hopkins (1-2) - 7:30 a.m. (PT)
vs. Bucknell (2-2) - 12:30 p.m. (PT)
The Bruins kick off their 2009 season with a new head coach before opening their new facility, Spieker Aquatics Center. Former Olympian Adam Wright, a four-year UCLA water polo letterwinner (1997-2000), was named head coach in the offseason and will work 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.
LONG ARM OF LAPIN
UCLA welcomes back senior Chay Lapin as its primary goalkeeper this fall. The Bruins go-to starter in the cage the last two seasons, Lapin has registered a 6.17 goals against average in three seasons in Westwood. He totaled 110 saves in limited action as a freshman, 198 saves as a sophomore and 206 saves as a junior last season. Lapin has secured second-team All-MPSF honors all three years.
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 standout Chris Wendt.
UCLA has been tabbed fourth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) preseason coaches' poll, behind USC, Stanford and California, respectively. UC Santa Barbara has been selected fifth, while Pepperdine and UC Irvine have drawn a tie for sixth. Long Beach State and Pacific, respectively, round out the coaches' poll. USC received six first-place votes, and Stanford collected three first-place votes.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Aug. 20, UCLA has been tabbed No. 3 in the national top-20 preseason rankings. USC and Stanford are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, while UCLA, California and Pepperdine round out the top five. Following in order are No. 6 Loyola Marymount, No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, No. 8 UC Irvine, No. 9 Long Beach State and No. 10 UC San Diego.
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 Friday, Oct. 16. The Bruins will play a doubleheader against Pacific and Chapman on Sunday, 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).
WHO'S ON DECK
Upon returning from the East Coast, UCLA will prepare for the annual NorCal Tournament. Slated for Sept. 19-20, the 2009 NorCal Tournament will take place at Stanford University. Last season, the Bruins advanced to the NorCal Tournament's title match before falling to USC, 6-5. UCLA's weekend at the NorCal Tournament precedes the Bruins' home-opening contest against UC Irvine (Sept. 26).