NCAA Water Polo Champions 2015
No. 2 UCLA Men's Water Polo to Close Regular Season at No. 5 Pepperdine

Nov. 19, 2008

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Saturday, Nov. 15 - at UC Santa Barbara

UCLA 11, UC Santa Barbara 4 (MPSF contest)

Saturday, Nov. 22 - 12 p.m.

No. 2 UCLA (15-5, 5-2 MPSF) at No. 5 Pepperdine (18-6, 5-2 MPSF)
at Pepperdine's Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool

The No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team plays its final regular season contest at No. 5 Pepperdine on Saturday at noon. With a win, the Bruins can secure a second-place tie in the MPSF standings.

With one regular-season contest remaining, UCLA finds itself in a three-way tie for second place in the MPSF standings. Sitting behind USC (8-0), the Bruins (5-2) share identical MPSF records with Stanford and Pepperdine. A victory by UCLA this weekend can guarantee, minimally, a No. 3 seed for the Bruins at the upcoming MPSF Tournament. The Bruins can secure a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a win over Pepperdine and a California victory over Stanford on Saturday.

Through games played on Nov. 16, senior Krsto Sbutega ranks third among MPSF players with 2.10 goals per game (42 goals, 20 games). Junior goalkeeper Chay Lapin is fifth among MPSF goalkeepers with 9.21 saves per match (175 saves, 19 games). Lapin's 5.79 goals against average this fall ranks third in the conference. Heading into the final week of the regular season, UCLA has allowed the third-fewest goals per game (6.10) of any MPSF team.

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 and Ben Hohl have each scored four goals twice this season, and Davidson has logged one four-goal game.

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 the final weekend of October (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 (41 goals), sophomore Ben Hohl (29) and junior Scott Davidson (28). Sbutega has scored 135 career goals, moving into seventh place on the program's career goals scored list (three behind assistant coach Adam Wright). Davidson scored three goals in UCLA's 11-4 win at UC Santa Barbara last weekend. Hohl has registered a team-best 11 goals in the last four contests, including a team-leading four goals against UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 15).

Jacob Murphy has turned in a solid sophomore campaign, patrolling the two-meter position as one of UCLA's top utility players. Murphy is currently tied for fourth on the team with 17 goals in 20 matches. Cullen Hennessy and Matt Preciado have impressed in their freshman campaigns in 2008. Hennessy, a speedy attacker from Fairfax, Calif., has tallied 12 goals. Preciado, a 6-foot-4 center from Murrieta City, Calif., has totaled 10 goals this fall.

As released on Wednesday, Nov. 19, UCLA has been ranked second in the nation. USC has earned the top slot this week. The top five selections are rounded out by MPSF competitors Stanford, California and Pepperdine. The top 10 includes, from slots six through 10 (in order), UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, UC San Diego and UC Irvine. This week's poll marks the fifth week this fall in which the Bruins have been ranked as high as No. 2, nationally.

Junior Chay Lapin has recorded 175 saves in 19 matches, logging 10 saves or more in 11 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 victory. Freshman Andrew Mesesan and junior Alex Lawrence have made seven and six saves, respectively.

UCLA has one regular-season contest to play before entering postseason play. Following this Saturday's MPSF clash at Pepperdine, the Bruins will return to Pepperdine for the 2008 MPSF Tournament (Nov. 28-30). All MPSF Tournament games will be played at Pepperdine's Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool. The winner of the MPSF Tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament (at Stanford, Dec. 6-7).

In his 10th season as head coach at UCLA, Adam Krikorian has tallied a 191-59 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).

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