Sept. 30, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA men's water polo team will play at No. 1 Stanford in both teams' MPSF-opening contest of the season on Saturday (10:30 a.m.). The Bruins look to avenge a 6-5 loss to Stanford in the NorCal Tournament's first-place game on Sept. 20. UCLA plays at No. 11 Santa Clara on Sunday at 11 a.m. The Bruins last faced Santa Clara on Sept. 30, 2007, earning a 17-5 victory in a non-conference match at UC Santa Cruz.
No. 2 UCLA (9-1, 0-0 MPSF) at No. 1 Stanford (8-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Saturday, Oct. 3 - 10:30 a.m.
at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center
No. 2 UCLA (9-1) at No. 11 Santa Clara (10-3)
Sunday, Oct. 4 - 11 a.m.
at Santa Clara's Sullivan Aquatics Center
BRUINS DOWN ANTEATERS
UCLA opened its state-of-the-art new home, Spieker Aquatics Center, in grand style with a 10-4 non-conference victory against No. 7 UC Irvine on Saturday, Sept. 26. Playing before more than 800 fans in a standing-room only crowd under the lights, the Bruins led the entire way against the visiting Anteaters. Scott Davidson, Cullen Hennessy and Josh Samuels each scored two goals for UCLA.
IN THE HISTORY BOOK
Senior Scott Davidson finished his night with two goals in UCLA's 10-4 win over UC Irvine last Saturday, but the native of Seal Beach, Calif., etched his name in the program's history book by scoring the first goal at Spieker Aquatics Center. Davidson fired a strike past UC Irvine goalkeeper Matt Johnson with 5:16 to play in the first quarter, handing the Bruins an early 1-0 cushion.
Freshman utility player Josh Samuels leads UCLA with 17 goals through the team's first 10 matches. The Villa Park, Calif., resident scored two goals in UCLA's home opener last Saturday. Samuels scored a season-high four goals in a win against Iona at the Princeton Invitational (Sept. 12) and has registered at least one goal in nine of the Bruins' 10 contests.
Among UCLA's most consistent scoring threats, junior Ben Hohl has scored 12 goals (fourth-most on the team) in 10 matches. The left-hander from Atherton, Calif., has played in all 62 matches since arriving in Westwood as a true freshman in 2007. He scored 27 goals on 61 attempts as a freshman (2007) before recording 33 goals on 78 attempts as a sophomore (2008).
Sophomore Cullen Hennessy has made an immediate impact for UCLA in 2009. Hennessy has scored 11 goals in 10 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 then-No. 1 USC with three seconds remaining to snap a 4-4 tie in a semifinal match at the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 20).
IN THE CAGE
Senior Chay Lapin has recorded 58 saves in 10 matches, having played just over 25 quarters. Lapin has tallied a 2.80 goals against average. The native of Long Beach, Calif., collected a season-high 11 saves in UCLA's 5-4 win over then-No. 1 USC. Freshman Matt Rapacz has tallied 35 saves in eight matches, compiling a 2.38 goals against average. Rapacz finished the five-game Princeton Invitational with 24 saves in 10 quarters. UCLA's goalkeepers have registered a 4.70 goals against average.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior center Cole Consani earned MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors after scoring 11 goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational. The resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., tied for UCLA's team lead that weekend with 11 goals (with Josh Samuels). Consani earned the weekly honor with UC Irvine's Greg Enloe, securing MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
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).
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 state selection Chris Wendt.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on Sept. 30, UCLA has been tabbed No. 2 in the top-20 rankings. Stanford claimed the No. 1 spot after having won the NorCal Tournament (Sept. 19-20). USC, California and Loyola Marymount round out the top five teams, respectively. Following Loyola Marymount, in order, is UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, UC Irvine and Navy.
The Bruins have opened their 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.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Bruins have five home matches remaining on their 2009 slate. UCLA returns home to host 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).