UCLA vs. LBSU: Friday's match at Long Beach State's Campus Pool begins at 4 p.m. and will be UCLA's conference opener. The Bruins lead the all-time series 75-18-1, including two victories in 2000. UCLA defeated the 49ers 13-6 at last season's SoCal Tournament, and 16-7 at home in the league match Nov. 5. Overall, UCLA has won 15 straight over LBSU since 1993.
Long Beach State narrowly missed upsetting then-No. 1 USC in its 2001 league and season opener Sept. 8, losing 7-6 in double overtime. The 49ers return all seven starters from last season's 15-13 squad, including All-American two-meter Chris Segesman. LBSU head coach Rick Azevado was one of six 49ers involved in the U.S. National and Junior National programs over the summer (Azevado was the top assistant for the national team).
UCLA vs. LMU: Saturday's non-conference match at LMU's Burns Aquatic Center starts at noon. The Lions have failed to defeat UCLA in seven previous tries. Twelve different Bruins scored the last time the teams met, a 16-2 UCLA rout on October 28, 2000.
LMU finished second at the UCSD Invitational held Sept. 8-9 at UC San Diego. The Lions defeated Santa Clara, Whittier, and Air Force by an average margin of eight goals. In the final, LMU lost to the host Tritons 6-5. Freshman Stephen Lipinski scored 15 goals in the tournament, including seven against Whittier. Coach John Lughran guides a young Lion offense that has scored 47 goals in four matches.
LAST WEEKEND: All UCLA athletic events were postponed last weekend in the aftermath of the attacks on the East Coast. No makeup dates have been announced for water polo matches.
LAST MATCH: UCLA opened its NCAA title defense with a convincing 12-2 home victory over then-No. 6 UC Irvine on Sept. 8. The match between the two MPSF foes was a conference non-counter. Driver Brett Ormsby (Fr., El Cajon/Valhalla) scored once in each period as UCLA raced to a 5-0 halftime advantage and led 8-1 after three quarters.
All-American goalkeeper Brandon Brooks (Jr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou) made 13 saves and held UCI scoreless for almost 20 minutes. Jeff Pflueger (Sr., Santa Ana/Foothill), Matt Flesher (Jr., Diamond Bar/Brea Olinda), and Ted Peck (Fr., Irvine/University) chipped in two goals apiece, while Dan Yeilding (Sr., San Clemente) added a goal and three assists.
NEWS AND NOTES: UCLA was ranked third in the latest American Water Polo Coaches' Association poll, which was released Sept. 12 ... Stanford took over the top spot, while USC, UCLA, California, and Pepperdine rounded out the top five ... The next poll will be released Wednesday, September 19 ... Senior driver Jon Puffer (El Segundo) remains questionable for this weekend's matches with a shoulder problem.