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Nicolas Saveljic Wins 2020-21 Cutino Award

Sep 2, 2021
Nicolas Saveljic became the first Bruin to claim the prize since goalkeeper Garrett Danner in 2016.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Olympic Club announced tonight that UCLA graduate student Nicolas Saveljic has been named the 2020-21 Peter J. Cutino Award winner. The Cutino Award is an iconic honor in NCAA water polo that recognizes the best men's and women's players each year.

Saveljic became the first Bruin to claim the prize since goalkeeper Garrett Danner in 2016. He is also just the third different Bruin and the fourth overall winner on the UCLA men's side. Sean Kern is the only other Bruin to win the Cutino Award, and he did it twice in 1998 and 1999.

The Cutino Award ceremony was remotely broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday night.

Saveljic helped the Bruins win the 2020 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship, the 12th in UCLA's storied history. Named a first-team All-American and a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American in 2020, Saveljic led the Bruins and the MPSF and was second in the NCAA in scoring with 37 goals in 16 games (2.3 goals per game). He was also third in assists on the team (10) to finish as the overall leading scorer on the squad with 47 points. He also led the team, the MPSF, and the NCAA in steals with 30 on the year. The reigning NCAA Player of the Year, Saveljic moved into sixth place on the UCLA career scoring charts with 164 goals.

Saveljic wrote himself into the MPSF record books this past season when he tied the all-time MPSF record for goals in a conference game and was one shy of tying the single-game record by an MPSF player in any game with a career-high eight goals in a 15-13 win over then-No. 1 Stanford on Feb. 7, 2021. Only two other players have scored eight goals in a game in league play (Ben Hallock, Stanford vs. California on 11/9/19 and Jeff Colyer, Long Beach State vs. UC Santa Barbara on 11/3/96). Additionally, it was the most-ever goals by a Bruin since Ryder Roberts scored seven goals in a win at No. 9 Pepperdine on Oct. 22, 2015.

The other two finalists on the men's side included Jacob Mercep (USC) and Nikolaos Papanikolaou (California).