UC San Diego (1-3, 0-0) travels up the road for three games Sept. 8-9. The Tritons kick of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) season against conference rival Concordia Irvine Friday at 11:30 a.m. The Eagles are coming off a strong performance at the Triton Invitational where they finished the weekend 3-1. UCSD will continue up the coast to Malibu for the Golden Coast Conference vs. WWPA Challenge on Saturday. The Tritons are set for a rematch against No. 11 UC Irvine after falling to the Anteaters last weekend. UCSD will cap its trip against No. 8 Pepperdine Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
UCSD ALL-TIME AGAINST THE OPPONENTS
• Concordia Irvine: 1-0 (1.000); Last meeting: UCSD won 21-7 (10/20/16)
• UC Irvine: 12-46 (.207); Last meeting: UCI won 13-2 (9/3/17)
• Pepperdine: 7-45 (.135); last meeting: UCSD won 8-7 (10/3/10)
Despite winning its season opener against Chapman, UC San Diego dropped its final three games of the Triton Invitational and finished the weekend 1-3. Saturday afternoon, the Tritons went up against the defending national champion Cal Bears. UCSD took a 2-0 lead early in the contest, but could not hang on, falling 12-7. On Sunday, the Tritons could not get things going on offense and lost to No. 9 UC Davis, 11-5, before dropping a 13-2 decision to No. 13 UC Irvine. Returning leading scorer, Arman Momdzhyan was out for the entire weekend.
The Tritons are 29-12 in season openers since the inception of the program in 1977. Last Saturday, UCSD collected its 29th season-opening win with a 14-1 victory over Chapman.
Two Tritons had hat tricks after
Cooper Milton (1)
9/2 vs. California (three goals)
Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt (1)
9/2 vs. Chapman (three goals)
GET TO KNOW THE TRITONS
Denny Harper, the 2016 Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) Division II and Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Coach of the Year began his 38th year at the helm when the men’s water polo team opened its 2017 schedule this weekend by hosting the Triton Invitational. UCSD is coming off a 15-8 season in which it reached the championship game of the WWPA tournament for the sixth year in a row.
The Tritons will have big shoes to fill with the departure of two-time All-American utility Nick Alexander, as well as all-conference utility Andy Moore. UCSD also graduated utility players in Jack Ellinthorpe and Nassim Hmeidan.
UCSD welcomes 11 newcomers, nine being freshmen, to the team and return 16 players including senior All-American utility Arman Momdzhyan (44 goals, 10 assists and 10 steals in 2016), sophomore utility Skyler Munatones (34 goals, 26 assists and 15 steals), junior utility Kevin Asplund (14 goals, 5 assists and 21 steals).
Twenty-six of the 27 Tritons on the roster are California natives, with the exception of junior Alessandro Valania, who hails from Savona, Italy. Local products include Kacper Langiewicz (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS), Rich Farley (Vista/Palomar College/Carlsbad HS), Cooper Milton (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS), Collin Sullivan (Escondido/San Pasqual HS), Jack Ranj (San Diego/Westview HS) and Konstantin Karlov (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS).
WHAT THE COACHES THINK
The 12th-ranked Tritons have been picked to finish second in the WWPA by the league's head coaches.
2017 WWPA Men’s Water Polo Preseason Coaches' Poll
Institution (First-Place Votes), Points
1. No. 9 UC Davis (5), 47
2. No. 12 UC San Diego (3), 45
T-3. No. 17 Loyola Marymount, 34
T-3. No. 16 California Baptist, 34
5. RV Air Force, 23
6. RV Santa Clara, 21
7. Concordia, 12
8. Fresno Pacific, 8
Junior goalkeeper Jack Turner earned a spot on the USA Men's National Team roster for a four-game series in California against Croatia, June 9-14. Turner was also selected as one of two goalkeepers on the U.S. roster for the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan, but was unable to go due to injury.
UCSD finished the 2016 season at 15-8 overall, highlighted by a runner-up performance in the WWPA Tournament. The Tritons, seeded second in the tournament with a 5-1 regular-season league record, defeated Fresno Pacific and Loyola Marymount to advance to the WWPA Championship game against UC Davis. UCSD battled with nationally-ranked No. 8 UC Davis but ultimately fell by a score of 12-8.
The Tritons beat seven teams ranked in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Top-20 poll throughout the course of the season.
HEAD COACH DENNY HARPER
UCSD head coach Denny Harper is in his 38th season leading the Tritons. He has compiled a career record of 631-464-4. An 18-time WWPA Coach of the Year and 14-time ACWPC National Coach of the Year honoree, Harper has led the Tritons to 18 WWPA titles and 14 appearances in the NCAA Championship. Last season, he was named the ACWPC Division II Coach of the Year, his sixth straight time earning that award.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UCSD Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
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UCSD heads north for a game against Fresno Pacific Thursday, Sept. 14 before taking on No. 1 California for the second time this season, this time in Berkeley, Saturday, Sept. 16. Both games are set for 1 p.m.