Nov. 6, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA men's water polo team faces crosstown rival and top-seeded USC on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Center, looking to gain the upper hand against the Trojans in the season series. UCLA handed USC its only loss of the season in a semifinal match at the NorCal Tournament on Sept. 20, as the Bruins outlasted the Trojans, 5-4. USC edged UCLA by a 9-8 margin in the semifinals at the UCI Invitational on Oct. 11. Game time of Saturday's MPSF match is slated for 7 p.m.
UCLA'S REMAINING MATCHES
Saturday, November 7 - 7 p.m. - at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center
No. 1 USC (19-1, 4-0 MPSF) at No. 4 UCLA (18-5, 4-2 MPSF)
All-Time Series vs. USC: UCLA leads, 70-64-1
This Season vs. USC: Series split, 1-1
Sunday, November 15 - 1 p.m. - at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (10-10, 0-3 MPSF) at No. 4 UCLA (18-5, 4-2 MPSF)
All-Time Series vs. UC Santa Barbara: UCLA leads, 88-16-1
This Season vs. UC Santa Barbara: First meeting
LISTEN LIVE AT UCLABRUINS.COM
UCLA's game against No. 1 USC on Saturday will feature a live audio broadcast from the pool deck, available online at uclabruins.com. Tune in at 6:55 p.m. as Ralph Irvin and Michael Sondheimer have the call from UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center. The audio broadcast is free of charge.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
UCLA's new Spieker Aquatics Center is located adjacent to Sunset Canyon Recreation Center (previous home venue). From the 405 freeway, exit Sunset Boulevard and head east. Continue on Sunset until Bellagio Drive. Turn right on Bellagio, followed by a left on DeNeve Drive. Continue on DeNeve, driving past the aquatic facility on your right, to the Sunset Village Parking Structure (on right, just south of aquatic facility and tennis courts). Parking costs $10.
VICTORIOUS ON THE ROAD
UCLA earned two MPSF road wins over the weekend, defeating No. 5 Pepperdine, 9-6, on Saturday before securing a 9-3 win at No. 8 Long Beach State on Sunday. The Bruins, who improved their MPSF record to 4-2, have won their last six matches, including each of their last four conference contests. UCLA has two MPSF games remaining on its schedule, with both contests to be played at home.
SHARING THE BALL
In their two road wins last weekend, UCLA had three two-goal scorers in each match. Six players scored in each contest, with freshman Griffin White leading the charge on the weekend with two goals in each match. Junior Ben Hohl followed with three goals through both games and four other Bruins each netted two goals through the two conference matches.
DOWN THE ROAD
The Bruins have just two regular-season matches remaining (both in MPSF play). After closing its season with home games against No. 1 USC and No. 9 UC Santa Barbara, UCLA will enter a two-week break before playing in the annual MPSF Tournament. This season's conference tournament is slated to take place Nov. 27-29 at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium.
Senior goalkeeper Chay Lapin had a landmark performance Sunday in the Bruins' 9-3 win at Long Beach State. Lapin, who hails from Long Beach, Calif., posted a career-best and 2009 MPSF single-game high 21 saves (most by a UCLA goalkeeper since at least 1997). A three-time All-MPSF selection, Lapin earned MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors after having logged 26 saves in two matches.
Goalkeeper Chay Lapin's impressive 21-save performance at Long Beach State last Sunday helped push the senior netminder closer to the top of UCLA's career saves list. Lapin has registered 150 saves on the season and 664 in his four-year career. He stands just 16 shy of third place (Dan Hackett, 680), 31 short of second place (Matt Swanson, 695) and 36 behind first place (Brandon Brooks, 700).
IN THE BOOKS
Senior Scott Davidson has moved into eighth place on UCLA's career goals list, having registered 137 goals entering this weekend's MPSF contest versus USC. Davidson is one goal shy of Adam Wright (138) for seventh place and rests five goals behind Chris Kellerman (142) for sixth place. In addition, he scored the first goal at UCLA's new Spieker Aquatics Center in a 10-4 win over UC Irvine (Sept. 26).
Among UCLA's most consistent scoring threats, junior Ben Hohl has scored 26 goals (fourth-most on the team) in 23 matches. Hohl tied his season high with a three-goal effort against Long Beach State at the UCI Invitational on Oct. 10. He has played in all 71 matches since arriving in Westwood as a true freshman in 2007. He scored 27 goals that fall before recording 33 goals as a sophomore in 2008.
Sophomore Cullen Hennessy has made an immediate impact for UCLA this season. Hennessy has scored 19 goals in 23 matches and produced the team's most memorable highlight of the fall, to date. The resident of Fairfax, Calif., scored the game-winning goal against No. 1 USC with three seconds remaining to snap a 4-4 tie in a semifinal match at the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 20).
Several true freshmen have made immediate contributions on a UCLA team that features 19 newcomers (17 freshmen). Josh Samuels and Griffin White are tied for second on the team with 27 goals, the most scored by a freshman since current junior Ben Hohl equaled 27 in 2007. White scored four goals in two games last weekend and has registered at least one goal in 10 of the last 11 matches.
AROUND THE MPSF
With a 4-2 MPSF record, the Bruins currently rest in fourth place in the conference standings. UCLA has played more conference contests entering Saturday's action than any other MPSF team. The Bruins' offense has averaged 10.74 goals per game, ranking fourth in the conference. UCLA's defense has allowed an average of 5.48 goals per game, the third-lowest mark among MPSF teams.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on Oct. 28, UCLA has been tabbed No. 4 in the top-20 rankings. USC secured the No. 1 spot after winning the UCI Invitational (Oct. 10-11). California is ranked second, Stanford third, UCLA fourth and Pepperdine fifth. Rounding out the top 10 selections, respectively, are Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Concordia.
The Bruins opened the season with a new head coach and home pool. Former two-time Olympian Adam Wright, a four-year UCLA water polo letterwinner (1997-2000), was named head coach in the offseason and works with Adam Krikorian, associate head coach who enters his 14th season coaching the men's water polo team. UCLA opened its new home with a 10-4 victory over UC Irvine on Sept. 26.