Nov. 11, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA men's water polo team finishes its regular-season schedule with two matches this weekend. The Bruins (16-4, 4-2) host their final home game of the year against No. 10 Pepperdine (9-12, 1-5) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. UCLA plays at No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (10-8, 1-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Bruins' final regular-season contest.
REMAINING REGULAR SEASON GAMES
No. 10 Pepperdine (9-12, 1-5) at No. 4 UCLA (16-4, 4-2)
Saturday, November 13 - 4 p.m.
at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center
No. 4 UCLA (16-4, 4-2) at No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (10-8, 1-4)
Sunday, November 14 - 1 p.m.
at UC Santa Barbara's Campus Pool
Saturday's MPSF match at Spieker Aquatics Center will feature a live audio broadcast at uclabruins.com, free of charge. UCLA's John Ramey and Mike Sondheimer will call the action of UCLA's final regular-season match from the pool deck in Westwood. Fans can listen to the live audio broadcast by clicking here.
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
UCLA dropped an MPSF match at USC last Saturday, 8-5, before defeating Air Force, 12-6, in a non-conference game at home on Monday. The loss at USC dropped UCLA into a tie for third place in the MPSF standings with the Trojans. The Bruins can still secure the No. 3 seed in the MPSF Tournament with two wins this weekend and one loss by Stanford in either of its two final MPSF matches.
ABOUT THE OPPOSITION
UCLA won both matches against Pepperdine last season and has yet to play the Waves this fall. The Bruins sport a 64-34-1 all-time record against Pepperdine. The Waves are currently eighth in the MPSF standings with a 1-5 conference mark. UCLA has won its last 29 matches against UC Santa Barbara, a win streak that dates back to Oct. 25, 1992 at the 49er Invitational. The Gauchos enter the weekend in seventh place in the conference standings with a 1-4 MPSF mark.
HONORING THE SENIORS
Saturday's game against Pepperdine will mark the final home contest for UCLA's five seniors. The Bruins will honor Ben Hohl, Clay Jorth, Kevin Kuga, Jacob Murphy and Emilio Vieira prior to Saturday's opening sprint at Spieker Aquatics Center. Over the last four years, this season's senior class has helped lead the Bruins to a combined 76-26 record, including a trip to the championship match of the 2009 NCAA Tournament at Princeton University.
THE MPSF RACE
Entering this weekend's MPSF action, California occupies first place with a perfect 6-0 conference record. Stanford is second with a 5-1 record. USC and UCLA are tied for third place, both at 4-2, while the Trojans hold the tiebreak advantage over the Bruins by virtue of last Saturday's result. UC Irvine enters the weekend in fifth place at 3-3. Pacific is sixth (2-3), while UC Santa Barbara (1-4), Pepperdine (1-5) and Long Beach State (0-6) round out the final three teams in the MPSF.
THE HOHL SHOT
Senior Ben Hohl leads UCLA with 38 goals in 18 games and is tied for fifth place among MPSF players with 2.11 goals per game. He has scored in 15 of 18 games played, totaling at least two goals in 12 matches. Hohl has netted four goals in seven career games, including three contests this fall. His 138 career-goal total is tied with Adam Wright for eighth place on UCLA's all-time goals list.
Three of UCLA's top four scorers hail from the team's sophomore and freshman classes. True sophomores Griffin White and Josh Samuels have scored 21 and 19 goals, respectively. Freshman Cristiano Mirarchi has netted 30 goals, the team's second-highest total. White has scored in 13 matches, while Samuels has totaled six multiple-goal games. Mirarchi leads UCLA with the most goals in a single game this fall, collecting five goals in the Bruins' 10-9 win over Stanford at the NorCal Tournament on Sept. 19.
IN THE CAGE
Freshman James Hartshorne leads all MPSF goalkeepers with 8.56 saves per contest. The former standout at Northwood High School (Irvine) has posted a 6.87 goals against average in nine starts, logging a team-leading 77 saves. Hartshorne's 6.87 goals against average ranks fourth-lowest in the conference. Junior Andrew Mesesan has logged 59 saves in 10 games (six starts), and sophomore Matt Rapacz has registered 32 saves in six matches (five starts).
AROUND THE WORLD
Seniors Ben Hohl and Jacob Murphy spent a portion of their offseason playing for the USA National Team in Europe. Hohl and Murphy both competed for Team USA at the Volvo Cup in Germany. Hohl continued his stint with the National Team during the summer, playing alongside veteran Team USA attacker Adam Wright (UCLA's second-year head coach). Hohl and Wright helped Team USA finish fourth at the annual FINA World Championships (Oradea, Romania).
Three players on the Bruins' 2010 roster grew up and attended high school outside the United States. Senior Emilio Vieira hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent two years studying at Golden West College (Huntington Beach, Calif.) before enrolling at UCLA in 2009. Freshmen Aimone Barabino and Cristiano Mirarchi call Italy home. Barabino, from Recco, Italy, spent the 2009-10 school year in New York City, attending La Scuola d'Italia, while Mirarchi attended high school in his hometown of Rome.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Nov. 10, UCLA has been tabbed No. 4 in the national top-20 rankings. California, USC and Stanford are ranked first, second and third, respectively. UC Irvine and Pacific are ranked fifth and sixth, respectively. Rounding out the poll's top 10 teams are UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State and Pepperdine.
AT THE HELM
Adam Wright is midway through his second year as UCLA's head coach. The four-year Bruin letterwinner (1997-2000) and a 2001 graduate of UCLA helped lead the Bruins to a 23-7 record and MPSF Tournament title last fall. Wright represented the United States on the men's national team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, leading Team USA to the silver medal in 2008.