No. 2 UCLA Hosts No. 7 Long Beach State Friday Night
LOS ANGELES – No. 2 UCLA (4-0) opens its 2022 home season with No. 7 Long Beach State (3-1) on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m. PT at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center. There will not be a live stream, but you can follow along with live stats here. Admission is free. After Friday night under the lights, the Bruins will travel for their first true road game of the year at No. 12 UC Irvine (2-2) on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 2:00 p.m. at Anteater Aquatics Complex.
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
Friday, Sept. 9 (Spieker Aquatics Center)
7:00 PM PT – No. 7 Long Beach State at No. 2 UCLA | Live Stats
UCLA is 103-21-1 all-time in the series history against Long Beach State. The Bruins won the last meeting, 9-6, at LBSU on Sept. 17, 2021. A total of nine different Bruins scored one goal apiece in the win with reserve goalkeeper Garret Griggs getting the start in the cage. He went the distance and recorded eight saves while allowing six goals. The Bruins are 79-60-1 all-time in the series history against UC Irvine. UCLA won last year's meeting, 12-6, at home on Sept. 10. Redshirt senior center Felix Brozyna-Vilim led UCLA's offense with a hat trick. He also drew three exclusions. Utility Guillermo Ocasio (two goals and two assists) and attacker Tommy Gruwell (four assists) paced the Bruins' offense with four points apiece. Griggs against got the start in the cage and went the distance, recording 12 saves and one steal while allowing six goals.
LAST WEEK IN BRUIN WATER POLO
UCLA opened the season with a bang, winning the Triton Invitational while taking down three Top 10 teams, including claiming the title against arch-rival then-No. 2 USC, 8-6 (Sept. 4). The Bruins never trailed and had seven different players score in the game, paced by super senior Jake Cavano's game-high-tying two goals. Cavano's second goal at 6:33 of the fourth quarter put the Bruins up 7-4 and was the eventual game-winning goal. Senior Bernardo Maurizi started the contest in the cage and was stellar, holding USC to just six goals while registering 11 saves (62.5 percent save percentage) and three steals. The Bruins defeated No. 7 UC Davis in the semifinals, 12-8 (Sept. 4). The Aggies scored the first three goals of the game before the Bruins rallied for the win. UCLA had nine different players score in the contest, paced by sophomore Chase Dodd's game-high three goals. Senior Andy Rodgers was the only other multiple goal scorer with two goals. Junior Garret Griggs got the start and played the first half, tallying five saves while surrendering six goals. Maurizi came on in relief in the second half and registered seven saves while allowing two scores in the fourth quarter. The Bruins opened the Triton Invitational with a 16-3 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scrips (Sept. 3). The Bruins had 10 different players score in the game, paced by freshman Noah Rowe's game-high four goals. He also had one assist for a total of five points and added two steals in the win. Redshirt junior Jack White, who hadn't played since 2019, began his comeback with a hat trick. Junior Makoto Kenney was the only other Bruin to score multiple goals in the game, finishing with two scores. Griggs earned the start in the cage and played the entire game, registering nine saves while allowing three goals (two on power plays and one on a penalty shot). UCLA won Group C with a 7-6 win over No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (Sept.3). The Bruins had six different players score in the game, paced by Rowe's game-high two goals. Senior Tommy Gruwell scored the game-winning goal from two meters with 1:36 remaining. It was the Bruins' only goal of the fourth quarter. Maurizi received the start in the cage and played the entire game, registering eight saves while allowing six goals (two on power plays and one on a penalty shot).
MAURIZI NAMED MPSF WEST/DELFINA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UCLA senior goalkeeper Bernardo Maurizi (Florence, Italy/Salesiani Firenze) was named the MPSF West/Delfina Player of the Week as announced by the league office (Sept. 5). Maurizi registered 26 saves over the two and a half games he played to help the Bruins win the UC San Diego Invitational (Sept. 3-4). He had eight saves and two steals against No. 8 UC Santa Barbara. He played the second half in the win over No. 7 UC Davis and had seven saves, one steal, and one assist, while only allowing two goals. He then had 11 saves and three steals in the win over No. 2 USC. He had an impressive goals against average of 5.6 against three Top 10 teams this past weekend. This was Maurizi's first career MPSF weekly award.
UCLA PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN MPSF
Defending NCAA Champion California recorded a perfect 49 points in the 2022 MPSF Men's Water Polo Coaches' poll and was picked to win the MPSF's Western Division title. UCLA placed second with 41 points. USC came in third with 39 points while Stanford was fourth with 31 points. In the MPSF Eastern Division, Austin College was picked to win with 24 points. Washington & Jefferson was projected second with 16 points, followed by Penn State Behrend (13) and Augustana (11).
Super seniors Evan Rosenfeld (2021 First-Team All-American) and Jake Cavano (2021 Honorable Mention All-American) have both decided to return to Westwood for one final season. Rosenfeld, a three-time All-American and 2021 MPSF Tournament MVP, scored 13 goals as a defender a year ago. Cavano, a four-time All-American, was tied for second on the team in scoring with 31 goals last season. Rosenfeld is working towards a master's degree in the Department of Education's Transformative Coaching and Leadership.
In addition to the aforementioned Rosenfeld and Cavano, the Bruins also return two more All-Americans in Tommy Gruwell and Bernardo Maurizi. Gruwell, a three-time All-American, returns for his senior season after ranking fifth on the team in scoring with 26 goals last year. He also spent the summer with Team USA where tallied three goals at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Starting senior goalie Bernardo Maurizi (9-4 last year), a two-time All-American, returns in the cage.
UCLA 2022 OUTLOOK
UCLA returns five of its top seven scorers and all three goalkeepers that saw action a year ago from the 2021 MPSF Championship team. Reserve goalkeepers junior Garret Griggs (10-0 in 2021) and redshirt junior Chase Honaker (1-0 in 2021) also return to bolster the Bruin defense.
Including the firepower from the four All-Americans, the Bruin offense looks to be very strong. Sophomore Chase Dodd was tied for second on the team in scoring with 31 goals and returns to UCLA after a busy summer where he tallied 13 goals at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, for Team USA. He also scored 17 goals at the 2022 FINA Intercontinental Cup in Lima, Peru and was named MVP of the gold medal match.
The Bruins also return capable offensive players in redshirt junior Jack Larsen (23 goals), redshirt sophomore Gianpiero Di Martire (19 goals), junior Makoto Kenney (14 goals), sophomore Eli Liechty (12 goals), senior Gabe Discipulo (11 goals), senior Andy Rodgers (11 goals), and redshirt junior Giorgio Alessandria (11 goals).
The Bruins will look to replace 2020 NCAA Player of the Year and Cutino Award winner, Nicolas Saveljic (led the team with 33 goals). UCLA also lost the services of seniors Felix Brozyna-Vilim (30 goals) and Chasen Travisano (11 goals), and sophomore Tanner Pulice (17 goals).
Arriving in Westwood this season and looking to make an immediate impact is freshmen Gray Carson (6-4, UTL, Long Beach, Calif., Woodrow Wilson HS), and Noah Rowe (6-4, ATK, North Tustin, Calif., Foothill HS).
The Bruins ended the 2021 season with a 20-4 overall record and captured their sixth MPSF Championship in program history.
A CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM
The UCLA Bruins captured their 12th NCAA Championship in men's water polo with a 7-6 win at USC on Mar. 21, 2021, at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The win also marked the 119th NCAA Championship for the UCLA Athletic Department. It was a balanced scoring effort by the Bruins, who received goals from six different players. Junior Jake Cavano, who was named to the 2020 First-Team All-NCAA Tournament, scored two goals, including the eventual difference maker with 6:23 left in the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Bernardo Maurizi, who also was named First-Team All-NCAA Tournament, held the Trojans scoreless throughout the first half and racked up nine saves. UCLA never trailed in the game, though USC briefly pulled even at 4-4. Nicolas Saveljic was named the NCAA Tournament MVP.
THE WRIGHT STUFF
After guiding the Bruins to the NCAA Championship in 2020 and being named the ACWPC National Coach of the Year, Adam Wright returns for his 14th season as UCLA's head men's water polo coach in 2022 with an overall record of 300-58 (.838) and an MPSF mark of 59-23 (.720). His teams earned perfect APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores of 1,000 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 while winning the school's 112th, 113th and 114th NCAA Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Wright added the fourth NCAA Championship to his resume as a head coach in 2020 (Mar. 21, 2021) and a fourth perfect APR score in 2021. On July 20, 2017, then-UCLA Director of Athletics, Dan Guerrero, announced that Wright will guide both the UCLA men's and women's water polo teams. Wright was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame on June 20, 2019, and to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020. On March 22, 2022, UCLA Director of Athletics, Martin Jarmond, announced that Wright had signed a new six-year contract, starting in July of 2022, as the Head Coach for both of the Bruins' Men's and Women's Water Polo programs.
Overall Record: 20-4 | Final Ranking: 3rd | NCAA Finish: T-3rd | MPSF Tournament Finish: 1st
The UCLA Bruins captured the 2021 MPSF Men's Water Polo Championship with an 11-10 win at Stanford at Avery Aquatic Center (Nov. 21, 2021). The win marked the Bruins' sixth MPSF Championship in history while completing a season sweep of the Cardinal (3-0), extending the series winning streak to four games.
POLLING THE BRUINS
UCLA moved up one spot to No. 2 in this week's CWPA National Men's Varsity Top 20 Poll (95 points), released on Sept. 7.
|2022 MEN'S VARSITY TOP 20 (WEEK 1/SEPTEMBER 7)|
|7||Long Beach State||5 (T)||70|
|8||UC Santa Barbara||8||65|
|10 (T)||San Jose State||9||51|
|13||UC San Diego||13 (T)||38|
|16||California Baptist University||13 (T)||26|
|18 (T)||St. Francis College Brooklyn||20||9|