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Water Polo NCAA Champs
 

No. 3 UCLA Prepares to Face Top-Ranked USC
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  10/19/2006

Oct. 19, 2006

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THE RIVALRY CONTINUES: After spending their Sunday at USC (SoCal Tournament host), the third-ranked Bruins will return to McDonald's Swim Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21, to face the top-ranked Trojans. UCLA lost to USC, 7-6, on Sunday, Sept. 17, in the NorCal Tournament semifinals at Stanford. The Trojans currently ride a 34-game win streak and has posted a perfect 16-0 record this season. The Bruins hold a 68-58-1 record in the all-time series between the crosstown rivals.

TOURNAMENT REVIEW: UCLA picked up victories over fifth-ranked Stanford (9-6), 14th-ranked Long Beach State (6-4) and third-ranked UC San Diego (12-3) at the SoCal Tournament. The Bruins lost to California, 8-6, in the semifinals. Junior Marco Santos recorded a team-high seven goals in the tournament, and freshman Scott Davidson totaled six goals. Freshman goalkeeper Chay Lapin collected 26 saves in three games, helping lead UCLA past Stanford and UC San Diego.

THREES ALL AROUND: Not only did UCLA win three games in the 2006 SoCal Tournament, but the Bruins also won three games in September's NorCal Tournament. UCLA finished third at both major tournaments this season. The Bruins have been ranked third in five of six Top-20 polls this season (No. 4 in week five). UCLA earned a No. 3 rank in the MPSF conference's preseason poll. All three Bruin win streaks this season have lasted three games.

CAREER DAY: Junior Marco Santos had an impressive four-goal performance Sunday against UC San Diego. The four-goal display tied his career high and established his new season high. In two games against the Tritons this season, he has tallied seven goals. Santos' four goals came on nine attempts, three of which missed the cage by hitting the post or crossbar. Through 12 games, he has scored 16 goals, second-most on the team.

KRSTO LEADS THE WAY: Sophomore Krsto Sbutega scored three goals against Stanford on Oct. 14, marking the fifth time this season that he has exhibited a multiple-goal performance. The sophomore attacker leads the Bruins with 17 goals. This season, he has registered two four-goal efforts (vs. Princeton, Sept. 16; at UC Irvine, Sept. 22).

IN THE CAGE: Freshman Chay Lapin has posted a team-best 4.50 goals against average in six games. At the SoCal Tournament, Lapin totaled a career-best 13 stops against Stanford (W, 9-6) and 10 saves versus UC San Diego (W, 12-3). Senior Will Didinger has tallied a 5.86 goals against average in seven games. Both goalies have recorded 40 saves each. UCLA's goalkeeping unit has limited opponents to 68 goals through 12 games while totaling 82 saves.

BALANCED ATTACK: Four Bruins have registered 10 goals or more through the season's first 12 games. Sophomore Krsto Sbutega (17), junior Marco Santos (16) and seniors Logan Powell (15) and Grant Zider (14) lead the team in that category. UCLA's top-four scorers have accounted for 47 percent of the Bruins' goals this season (62/133). Those four scorers have posted a combined 40 percent scoring percentage.

AT THE HELM: In his eighth season as head coach of the men's water polo team, Adam Krikorian has tallied an impressive 147-44 career record at UCLA, his alma mater (class of 1997), while leading the Bruins to three NCAA titles. He has also served as the women's water polo head coach for eight seasons, guiding the women to five national titles. Krikorian played water polo for the Bruins from 1992-95, helping lead the 1995 squad to its first NCAA championship since 1972. Throughout his coaching career, Krikorian has coached 39 All-Americans (selected 69 times) and four Olympians.

FRESH MEN: Four Bruin freshmen have posted impressive debuts this season. Chay Lapin has recorded 27 saves in the cage. Scott Davidson ranks fifth on the squad with 12 goals. Kevin Kuga ranks is sixth on the list with nine goals, and Scott Swanson has registered four goals.

HOME, SWEET HOME: The Sunset Canyon Recreation Center at UCLA enters its 42nd year as the home of Bruin water polo, and (as in previous years) UCLA has played two matches at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. UCLA has two more regular-season games at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center (Nov. 17 vs. Long Beach State; Nov. 19 vs. UC Irvine).


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