No. 2 UCLA Set to Defend MPSF Championship Title
LOS ANGELES – No. 2 UCLA (21-2, 2-1 MPSF WEST) is set to defend its MPSF Championship this weekend at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Bruins will open with a first-round game against Washington & Jefferson College (9-6, 2-3 MPSF EAST) on Friday, Nov. 18 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The MPSF will stream the game on MPSF TV and USC will provide live stats on the 6-8 Sports platform. For tickets, parking, rosters, schedules, and live stats and stream links, click here.
This is the first-ever meeting between UCLA and the Washington & Jefferson College Presidents.
LAST WEEK IN BRUIN WATER POLO
No. 2 UCLA stormed back from a three-goal deficit in the final 1:05 of the fourth quarter to post a 14-13 overtime win over No. 3 USC (15-6, 1-2 MPSF) on Friday afternoon (Nov. 11) at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center. UCLA improved to 94-88-1 all-time in the series history with their third-straight win over the Trojans in 2022. The Bruins trailed 13-10 after Jake Ehrhardt scored for USC at even strength (1:19) late in the fourth quarter. Redshirt sophomore Gianpiero Di Martire caught fire down the stretch, scoring on three straight 7-on-6 plays by UCLA in the final 1:05 of regulation. The first came off a feed from senior Tommy Gruwell (1:05) and the second off a pass from junior Makoto Kennedy (0:35) to cut the deficit to 13-12. Then after the Bruins got a stop and the ball back with 0:05 remaining, UCLA Head Coach Adam Wright called his final timeout. On the ensuing entry pass to start the possession by super senior Jake Cavano, Di Martire redirected the one-timer past the Trojan keeper to send the game into extra time (0:03). In the overtime period, both teams were scoreless for the first 5:57 of the possible 6:00 minutes of extra time until Cavano got a steal (0:15) and scored the game-winning goal with 0:03 remaining after an ordinary foul. The Bruins had 10 different players score, paced by Di Martire's hat trick. Eight of the 14 goals were scored by Bruin seniors playing in their final home game. Seniors Andy Rodgers and Jack Larsen each scored twice against USC. Senior Bernardo Maurizi got the start in the cage and went the distance, registering 15 saves and one steal, while allowing 13 goals. Massimo Di Martire led the Trojans with four scores while Kyle McKenney had eight saves while surrendering 14 goals to UCLA.
LEAGUE-BEST EIGHT BRUINS EARN ALL-MPSF HONORS
The UCLA Bruins had a league-high eight players earn 2022 Delfina All-MPSF West accolades as announced by the league office (Nov. 16). The eight players tied for the most in program history (2016 and 2020). Highlighting the group was super senior attacker/utility Jake Cavano, senior attacker Tommy Gruwell and senior goalkeeper Bernardo Maurizi, who were all named to the First Team. It marked the first time that Gruwell (Second Team - 2020, 2021, Honorable Mention - 2019) and Maurizi (Second Team - 2020, Honorable Mention - 2021) landed on the First Team in their careers. It was the second First Team nod for Cavano (First Team - 2020, Second Team - 2019, Honorable Mention - 2018, 2021), who became the first five-time All-MPSF player in UCLA history thanks to the extra year granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic. Redshirt sophomore attacker Gianpiero Di Martire, sophomore attacker Chase Dodd and redshirt junior attacker Jack Larsen were all named to the Second Team. It marked the first time all three players have earned All-MPSF accolades in their careers. Two Bruins garnered Honorable Mention All-MPSF honors. The duo consisted of super senior utility Evan Rosenfeld and junior attacker Makoto Kenney. It marked the fourth postseason MPSF honor for Rosenfeld (First Team - 2021, Second Team - 2018, 2020) and the second for Kenney (Second Team in 2020).
CAVANO TAKING COMMAND
Super senior attacker/utility Jake Cavano is currently leading the team with 39 goals. He has scored at least one goal in 22-of-23 games in 2022 (none in the Bruins' win over Long Beach State in the MPSF Invitational on Sept. 24). His active streak of 11 straight games with at least one goal is the current longest streak on the team. He has been hot as of late, scoring a total of 24 goals in the 11-game span.
Sophomore attacker Chase Dodd is second on the team with 35 goals scored. He has scored at least one goal in 17-of-23 games on the year, including 12 multiple-goal games. He leads the team and is tied for the lead in the MPSF with 19 sprints won. He has scored a season- and career-high four goals twice this season (in a win over No. 10 San Jose State on Sept. 16 and in a win at then-No. 1 Stanford on Oct. 15.
DETERMINED DI MARTIRE
Redshirt sophomore attacker Gianpiero Di Martire is rising on the Bruins' scoring leaders list on the year. He is currently third on the team in scoring with 34 goals (one of three Bruins with 30 or more goals on the year). He has scored at least one goal in 18-of-23 games on the year, including nine multiple-goal games. He has scored a season- and career-high four goals twice this season (in a win over Santa Clara on Sept. 23 and in a win over No. 11 UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 20).
Junior attacker Makoto Kenney made a triumphant return to the Bruins' lineup on Oct. 8 after missing 11 games (had been unavailable since Sept. 10 due to an undisclosed illness). Kenney made his presence known, scoring the first goal of the game (1Q - 5:57) in UCLA's 17-6 home win over No. 14 UC San Diego. He also added two steals and one assist against the Tritons. He followed that outing up with two goals in the Bruins' 10-6 takedown of previously undefeated and top-ranked Stanford on the road (Oct. 15). Kenney scored twice in each of the Bruins' wins over No. 11 UC Santa Barbara and No. 7 UC Davis. He scored the eventual game-winning goal against the Aggies with 0:30 left in the fourth quarter to put UCLA up 10-8. He did not score in the Bruins' loss to California (Oct. 29), but found the back of the net once in UCLA's win at No. 12 LMU (Nov. 5) and against No. 3 USC (Nov. 11). He has scored at least one goal in 9-of-12 games on the year.
DI MARTIRE NAMED UCLA STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK, PRESENTED BY READY
Redshirt sophomore attacker Gianpiero Di Martire of the UCLA men's water polo team has been selected the UCLA Student-Athlete of the Week, presented by Ready, for Nov. 7-13. Di Martire led the Bruins to a 14-13 overtime win over No. 3 USC on Nov. 11, scoring a team-high six points on three goals and three assists. He scored all three of his goals in the final 1:05 of the fourth quarter, rallying the Bruins from a 13-10 deficit in the final 1:19 to tie the game. His third consecutive goal, a one-timer redirect shot with 0:03 remaining in the fourth, sent the game into overtime. He also had one field block against the Trojans. This is Di Martire's first UCLA student-athlete of the week award of the season and of his career. Also nominated: Jaylen Clark, M. Basketball; Anna Dodson, W. Volleyball; Zoe Jespersgaard, W. Swimming & Diving; Ronan McMahon-Staggs, Cross Country; Andre Ochoa, M. Soccer; Charisma Osborne, W. Basketball; Lexi Wright, W. Soccer.
DI MARTIRE NAMED MPSF WEST/DELFINA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UCLA redshirt sophomore attacker Gianpiero Di Martire (Naples, Italy/Liceo Scientifico Francesco Saverio Nitti) has been named the MPSF West/Delfina Player of the Week as announced by the league office (Nov. 14). Di Martire recorded three goals, three assists, and one field block in the 14-13 overtime win over No. 3 USC (Nov. 11). He scored all three goals in the final 1:05 of the fourth quarter as the Bruins rallied from a 13-10 deficit to tie the game in regulation. His third consecutive goal, a one-timer redirect with 0:03 remaining, sent the game into overtime. This is the first career MPSF weekly award for Di Martire, Others nominated: Max Casabella (Cal).
DODD, GRUWELL NAMED TO CUTINO AWARD WATCH LIST
UCLA sophomore attacker Chase Dodd (Long Beach, Calif./Hunting Beach HS) and senior Tommy Gruwell (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) have been named to the Cutino Award Watch List, as announced (Oct. 20) by USA Water Polo and The Olympic Club in collaboration with the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC). The Peter J. Cutino Award, named in honor of the late Hall of Fame coach, recognizes the best player in men's and women's college water polo. In an effort to help promote the college game, awareness of the honor, and the excellent play of athletes around the country, the watch list was introduced this season for the first time.
LOTH NAMED MPSF/S&R SPORT NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
UCLA redshirt freshman center Grant Loth (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei HS) has been named the MPSF West/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office (Oct. 24). Loth scored one goal in each of the two victories last week. His goal on his only shot in the 12-7 win over No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 20) sparked a three-goal run which broke a 3-3 tie in the second quarter. He added a drawn exclusion against the Gauchos. Loth also scored on his only shot in the 10-9 win over No. 7 UC Davis (Oct. 22). His goal in the third quarter tied the game at 3-3. This is Loth's first career MPSF award.
DODD, ROWE SWEEP MPSF WEST WEEKLY AWARDS
UCLA sophomore attacker Chase Dodd (Long Beach, Calif./Hunting Beach HS) was named the MPSF West/Delfina Player of the Week and Bruin freshman attacker Noah Rowe (North Tustin, Calif./Foothill HS) has been named the MPSF West/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office (Oct. 17).
Dodd scored a season- and career-high-tying four goals (on five shots) to lead the No. 3 Bruins to a 10-6 win at No. 1 Stanford (Oct. 15), which handed the Cardinal its first loss. Dodd also tallied two steals, drew two exclusions and one penalty shot against Stanford. This was Dodd's fourth career MPSF weekly award, though first as Player of the Week (three Newcomer of the Week awards last year).
Rowe scored one goal on his only shot in the win at No. 1 Stanford (Oct. 15), but it was a big one, sparking a 6-0 scoring run by the Bruins. Trailing 4-3, Rowe fired a shot from half-tank at the buzzer just before halftime and scored off a deflection from the Stanford keeper. He also had two steals in the win. This was Rowe's first career MPSF award.
DODD NAMED UCLA STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK, PRESENTED BY READY
Sophomore attacker Chase Dodd of the UCLA men's water polo team has been selected the UCLA Student-Athlete of the Week, presented by Ready, for Oct. 10-16. Dodd scored a season- and career-high-tying four goals on five shots to lead No. 3 UCLA to a 10-6 win at No. 1 Stanford on Oct. 15. The MPSF West/Delfina Player of the Week also tallied two steals and drew two exclusions and one penalty shot against the Cardinal, who was beaten for the first time this season. Dodd opened the scoring in the second half with back-to-back goals to turn a 4-4 halftime tie to a 6-4 Bruin advantage they would not relinquish. UCLA improved to 17-1 overall and 1-0 in the MPSF with the win. This is Dodd's first UCLA student-athlete of the week award of the season and of his career. Also nominated: Nate Crockford, M. Soccer; Anna Dodson, W. Volleyball; Claire Grover, W. Swimming & Diving; Ronan McMahon-Staggs, M. Cross Country; Claire Selleck, W. Cross Country.
MAURIZI NAMED MPSF WEST/DELFINA PLAYER OF THE WEEK AGAIN
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 (Oct. 3). Maurizi totaled 24 saves and six steals to lead UCLA to wins over No. 4 Pacific (Sept. 30) and at No. 12 Pepperdine (Oct. 2). UCLA trailed 8-3 early in the third quarter before storming back to defeat the Tigers. Maurizi had 11 saves and a season-high three steals in a 12-11 win. His last save came with 10 seconds remaining in the game to preserve the one-goal victory. The Bruins then trailed by three in the first half at Pepperdine before rallying to win, as Maurizi had a season-high 13 saves and tied his career-high of three steals. This was Maurizi's second career MPSF Player of the Week award, both this year.
CAVANO NAMED MPSF WEST/DELFINA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UCLA super senior attacker/utility Jake Cavano (Huntington Beach, Calif./Hunting Beach HS) was named the MPSF West/Delfina Player of the Week as announced by the league office (Sept. 19). Cavano scored seven goals through four wins over Top-20 teams at the UC Davis Aggie Roundup (Sept. 16-17). Cavano put away the game-winning goal in three of the four contests. He scored twice in wins over No. 10 San Jose State, No. 16 California Baptist, and No. 11 Princeton, and added one goal in the win over No. 14 Harvard. Cavano is the only Bruin to score at least one goal in all 10 games of the 2022 season. This was Cavano's second career MPSF Player of the Week award.
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 317-60 (.841) and an MPSF mark of 61-24 (.718). 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 held steady at No. 2 in this week's CWPA National Men's Varsity Top 20 Poll (96 points), released on Nov. 16.
|2022 Men's Varsity Top 20 (Week 11/November 16)|
|Rank||Team||Week 10 Poll||Points|
|6||Long Beach State||6||75|
|10||UC Santa Barbara||8 (T)||56|
|11||UC San Diego||12||46|
|14||San Jose State||15||33|
|17||California Baptist University||16||21|
|18||St. Francis College Brooklyn||20||13|
|19 (T)||George Washington||19||8|