Nov. 29, 1999
UP NEXT FOR THE BRUINS: The UCLA men's water polo team is just two wins away from its third NCAA championship title in five years. The Bruins earned an automatic berth to the four-team tournament field by capturing the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title last weekend at UC Irvine. UCLA is the number one seed entering the championships with a 20-3 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in league play. The Bruins will meet fourth-seeded Massachusetts (28-5) Saturday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. to kick off the single-elimination tournament hosted by UC San Diego at Canyonview Pool in La Jolla, Calif. Second-seed Stanford (21-5) will face UC San Diego (19-10) at 3 p.m. following UCLA's game. The losing teams will face-off Sunday, Dec. 5 at noon for third place, while the winners will battle for the NCAA title at 1:30 p.m.
1999 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship
Saturday, Dec. 4
1:30 p.m. Game 1 #1 UCLA vs. #4 Massachusetts 3:00 a.m. Game 2 #2 Stanford vs. #3 UC San DiegoSunday, Dec. 5
Noon Game 3 Third Place Game (Losers 1 vs. 2) 1:30 p.m. Game 4 Championship Game (Winners 1 vs. 2)NCAA SELECTION PROCESS: Automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championship come from the MPSF (UCLA), the Collegiate Water Polo Association (UMass), and the Western Water Polo Assocation (UC San Diego). The fourth team is selected at-large without geographical restrictions (Stanford).
THE OPPONENTS: UCLA leads the all-time series with UMass 2-0. These teams last met in 1996, with the Bruins emerging victorious 14-6. In 1990, UCLA defeated the Minutemen 18-2. UMass has made five NCAA tournament appearances in the last six years, including a fourth place finish last year. The Minutemen have a tall task ahead, as no team from outside the state of California has ever reached the championship final. Stanford, a conference opponent of the Bruins, leads the all-time series record 57-50. However, UCLA defeated the Cardinal three times in four meetings this season. The Bruins dropped UC San Diego 12-4 on Halloween of this year. The Tritons have never beaten UCLA in 39 meetings.
BRUINS CAPTURE MPSF TITLE IN FINAL SECOND: With one second remaining on the clock in the second overtime period, junior Blake Wellen scored his third goal of the game to lift UCLA over Stanford 12-11 in the championship game of the MPSF conference tournament Sunday, Nov. 28 at UC Irvine. It was UCLA's first league title since 1975. The Bruins defeated UCSB 13-8 and California 12-9 also in overtime to reach the championship duel. Juniors Sean Kern and Adam Wright were named to the MPSF all-tournament team, while senior Matt Armato was named the tournament MVP.
BRUIN NOTABLES: The men's water polo squad will attempt to capture its third NCAA title in five years under co-head coach Guy Baker'UCLA won back-to-back titles in 1995 and '96'They also won NCAA titles in '69, '71 and '72 during coach Bob Horn's tenure'Co-head coach Adam Krikorian played for the Bruins' '95 and '96 squads'UCLA has made 22 appearances in the NCAA championships since the team's inception in 1963'Seniors Matt Armato and James Palda are the only current Bruins who were on the active roster of the'96 championship squad'The Bruins hope Canyonview Pool will bring them luck, as their last NCAA title in '96 was captured at this year's site'UCLA athletic teams have won 78 NCAA titles, the most in the nation.