Nov. 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 3 UCLA men's water polo team plays a conference match at No. 2 USC on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Bruins (15-3, 4-1) look to secure their fifth consecutive MPSF victory when they face the Trojans (18-2, 3-2). Winners of their last seven matches, UCLA hosts a non-conference game against No. 19 Air Force on Monday at 12 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Center.
No. 3 UCLA (15-3, 4-1) at No. 2 USC (18-2, 3-2)
Saturday, November 6 - 4:30 p.m.
at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium
No. 19 Air Force (9-13) at No. 3 UCLA (15-3)
Monday, November 8 - 12 p.m.
at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center
AGAINST THE TROJANS
UCLA has lost each of its two matches against USC this season, dropping each game by one goal. USC edged the Bruins, 11-10, in the NorCal Tournament's title match on Sept. 19 at California (Berkeley). Two weeks later, the Trojans defeated UCLA, 9-8, in the championship game of the SoCal Tournament at UCLA (Oct. 3). Last season, the two schools split four matches. UCLA won at USC in an MPSF Tournament semifinal contest before the Trojans downed the Bruins, 6-5, in the NCAA Championship.
OVER THE WEEKEND
UCLA earned three victories at home last weekend. The Bruins used three goals from Ben Hohl to defeat UC San Diego, 12-4, and four more from Hohl that afternoon to take care of Pomona-Pitzer, 9-4. The following day, Hohl and sophomore Griffin White each netted three goals as UCLA defeated Long Beach State, 11-5 in an MPSF match. With those three wins, UCLA pushed its win streak to seven games, the team's longest such streak since opening the 2009 season with eight straight victories.
THE MPSF RACE
Entering this weekend's MPSF action, California occupies first place with a 4-0 mark. UCLA is in second place with a 4-1 record, and Stanford rests third with a 3-1 mark. USC and UC Irvine are tied for fourth place at 3-2, while UC Santa Barbara is sixth with a 1-2 record. Rounding out the conference's final three teams are Pacific (1-3), Pepperdine (1-5) and Long Beach State (0-4).
THE HOHL SHOT
Senior Ben Hohl leads UCLA with 38 goals in 16 games and ranks third among MPSF players with 2.38 goals per game. He has scored in 15 of 16 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 20 and 19 goals, respectively. Freshman Cristiano Mirarchi has netted 27 goals, the team's second-highest total. White has scored in 12 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.
Freshmen Aimone Barabino and Cristiano Mirarchi have both made an immediate impact for the Bruins in 2010. Both players hail from Italy and will be featured on the next edition of the Rick Neuheisel Football Show on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Watch FSN's feature on the Bruins' Italian water polo duo on Monday, Nov. 8, at 10:30 p.m. Barabino has scored five goals and ranks second on the team with 17 earned exclusions. Mirarchi's 27 goals is second-most on the team behind senior Ben Hohl's 38 goals.
IN THE CAGE
Freshman James Hartshorne leads all MPSF goalkeepers with 8.75 saves per contest. The former standout at Northwood High School (Irvine) has posted a 6.73 goals against average in eight starts, logging a team-leading 70 saves. Hartshorne's 6.73 goals against average ranks third-lowest in the conference. Junior Andrew Mesesan has logged 56 saves in nine games (six starts), and sophomore Matt Rapacz has registered 27 saves in five matches (four 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. 3, UCLA has been tabbed No. 3 in the national top-20 rankings. California is ranked No. 1 in this week's poll, USC is No. 2, and Stanford and UC Irvine have been slotted No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine round out the top 10 selections, respectively.
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.