Sept. 4, 2002
UCLA VS. UC IRVINE: UCLA (0-0) begins its quest for a fourth straight NCAA Final Four with a 12 p.m. non-conference showdown with UC Irvine (0-0) at Anteater Aquatics Center. It will be the first of two meetings between the teams, as they will also face-off in a MPSF match at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on Nov. 2. UCI leads the all-time series 56-48-1, although the Bruins were victorious in both contests last season. (Sept. 8, 12-2; Nov. 10, 14-6).
The Anteaters finished 7-15 last year and placed 8th in the MPSF Tournament. Coach Ted Newland enters his 37th season with 670 career victories and three NCAA Titles, both tops in collegiate water polo history. UCI lost three letterwinners from last season's squad, but return eight, including five starters. U.S. National team member and First-Team All American Jeff Powers leads the Anteater attack with 73 goals from last season.
UCLA Season Outlook: The 2002 UCLA men's water polo team will look to a host of young players and a handful of veterans to bring the program back to its fourth straight NCAA Championship match. The Bruins lost three starters, but return 11 letterwinners, including four starters.
Brandon Brooks (Sr., Punahou) will return to the net for his senior year, with three All-American accolades under his belt. His single season goals allowed marks of 4.80 in 2000, 5.60 in 1999, and 5.96 last season rank first, second and fifth respectively, in the Bruin recordbooks. He has led the team to a 45-13 record since taking over midway through the 1999 season. Backing Brooks will be U.S. National Team member Joseph Axelrad (So., Harvard-Westlake).
Ted Peck (So., University) will take over at the center position. Peck scored 12 goals and appeared in all 21 matches last season. Garrett Bowlus (Fr., Corona del Mar) will serve as the primary center reserve.
Third-Team All-American Matt Flesher (Sr., Brea Olinda) will return to his starting center defender position this season, boasting 64 career goals, two national championships and three varsity letters as credentials. Dan Yeilding (Sr., San Clemente) will provide experienced relief to Flesher.
Brett Ormsby (So., Valhalla) and Albert Garcia (Jr., Long Beach-Wilson) will head up the Bruin attack. Ormsby led the Bruins with 43 goals last season, and started every match, earning a Second-Team All-America honor. Garcia, who will also see time as a center defender, was third on the team last season with 24 goals and first with 23 assists. Josh Hewko (So., San Clemente) and Peter Belden (So., Harvard-Westlake) will also see time at driver.
PRESEASON RANKINGS: The first United States Water Polo National Collegiate Division I poll is yet to be released. UCLA finished last season tied for second in the rankings with California and will face each of the top 11 ranked teams from the 2001 final poll.