Oct. 29, 2008
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Saturday, Nov. 1 - 1 p.m.
No. 3 UCLA (11-4, 3-1 MPSF) at No. 1 USC (19-0, 4-0 MPSF)
at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium
THE WEEK AHEAD
The No. 3 UCLA men's water polo team faces No. 1 USC on Saturday at the Trojans' Trojans' McDonald's Swim Stadium. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. The Bruins look to hand the undefeated Trojans their first loss of the 2008 campaign. Earlier this fall, USC edged UCLA, 6-5, in the NorCal Tournament title match.
UCLA improved its road record to 4-0 this fall after winning both matches in Northern California over the weekend. The Bruins defeated then-No. 3 California, 11-10, on Saturday mroning and knocked off then-No. 17 Pacific, 14-2, on Sunday afternoon. The Bruins have won their last three matches, and have recorded seven consecutive road victories, dating back to 2007. Following Saturday's game at USC, the Bruins' remaining road games are at UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.
Through games played on Oct. 27, senior Krsto Sbutega ranks third among MPSF players with 2.38 goals per game (31 goals, 15 games). Junior goalkeeper Chay Lapin is tied for fourth among all MPSF goalkeepers with 9.50 saves per match (133 saves, 14 games). Lapin also ranks fourth in the conference with a 5.64 goals against average.
Two players have netted five goals in a match this fall - Krsto Sbutega (at UC Irvine, Sept. 13) and Scott Davidson (at Pacific, Oct. 26). The last Bruin to score six or more in a game was David Pietsch, who tallied six goals in a 10-8 win over UC Irvine (Oct. 1, 2005). Sbutega has scored four goals twice this season, and Davidson and Ben Hohl have each recorded one four-goal game.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Senior Krsto Sbutega and junior Chay Lapin have been honored this fall as MPSF Co-Players of the Week. Sbutega has earned the honor twice this fall - once after scoring a career-high five goals in UCLA's 10-4 win at UC Irvine (Sept. 13) and again after logging six goals through two MPSF road wins last weekend (Oct. 25, 26). Lapin captured weekly honors after having tied his career high with 15 saves in a 10-4 win against Long Beach State (Oct. 4).
UCLA's offense has been led by senior Krsto Sbutega (31 goals) and junior Scott Davidson (21 goals). Sbutega has scored 124 career goals, moving into ninth-place on the program's career goals list. Davidson scored one goal in each of the team's first six matches, totaling 10 goals in that span, and logged a season-high five goals at Pacific (Oct. 26).
Sophomore Ben Hohl and Jacob Murphy have made significant contributions, 15 games into the season. Hohl, who scored 27 goals as a true freshman in 2007, has registered 18 goals this fall (third-most on the team). Hohl has scored at least one goal in 12 of the Bruins' 15 matches. Murphy scored seven goals in four SoCal Tournament games and tallied a pair of goals against California in the NorCal Tournament.
IN THE POLLS
As released on Wednesday, Oct. 29, UCLA has been ranked third in the nation, behind USC and Stanford, respectively. UCLA began the season ranked fourth, ascended two slots after having finished second at the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 21) and dropped back to the No. 4 spot after a fourth-place finish at the SoCal Tournament (Oct. 12). Most recently, the Bruins rose to the No. 3 ranking after having defeated then-No. 3 California on the road, 11-10.
IN THE CAGE
Junior goalkeeper Chay Lapin has recorded 133 saves in 14 matches, logging 11 saves or more in six matches. At the NorCal Tournament, Lapin made 45 stops in four games, allowing just 4.5 goals per game. Against Long Beach State (Oct. 4), Lapin tied his career high with 15 saves in a 10-4 MPSF victory. Freshman Andrew Mesesan and junior Alex Lawrence have each made six saves.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Bruins will host two more home matches - both games at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. UCLA will welcome UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 7 (3 p.m.) and UC San Diego on Sunday, Nov. 9 (1 p.m.). The Bruins have registered a 3-1 record in four home matches this fall. The match against UC San Diego marks UCLA's final home game of the year, as the team's three seniors will be honored prior to the opening sprint.
AT THE HELM
In his 10th season as head coach at UCLA, Adam Krikorian has tallied a 187-58 record. A four-year letterwinner and 1997 UCLA graduate, Krikoriam has been a part of 14 national championships in 16 seasons with the water polo program. As head coach of the men's and women's programs, Krikorian has guided UCLA to 10 national titles (three men's, seven women's). Krikorian led the Bruins to three national titles as an assistant coach and one as a player (1995).