Up to the Challenge: Turnbow-Lindenstadt, No. 10 Tritons host WWPA foe Concordia on Friday Night
LA JOLLA, Calif. — Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt was always challenged growing up.
It began with one of the most basic aspects of life — learning to spell his own name.
Known by some as simply “CTL,” Turnbow-Lindenstadt’s journey to becoming the leading scorer on the No. 10-ranked University of California San Diego men’s water polo team was accelerated by a trip to Berlin, Germany.
With his father working abroad in Berlin, Turnbow-Lindenstadt joined him for about a year to learn more about his German heritage and study the language.
He able to play a lot of high-level water polo as well.
“It was a cool experience,” said Turnbow-Lindenstadt, who also led the Tritons in total points last year as a true freshman. “I was in Germany and got to travel and check out other countries.
“Europe is really a water polo hot bed. There’s a higher focus on it.”
His high school career in Orange County, first at Corona del Mar High School before finishing his prep career at Newport Harbor High, was filled with top-level competition as well.
With Newport Harbor being one of the top high school water polo programs in the nation, it wasn’t hard for UC San Diego head coach Denny Harper to find him on the recruiting trail.
“The first time I laid eyes on (Turnbow-Lindenstadt) at Newport Harbor, I looked at (associate head coach Matt Ustaszewski) and said, ‘He’s not a shooter, he’s a scorer.’ There’s a difference.
“We’ve nurtured a lot of relationships and went after a lot of kids from (Newport Harbor). Their coaches coach more like a collegiate level coach would. At Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor, he was given an opportunity to show if he was all that.”
And he showed it. Turnbow-Lindenstadt had offers to attend Pepperdine and George Washington among others coming out of high school, but wanted to be somewhere he believed he could make an immediate impact.
“I saw this team and group of guys, and thought I’d fit in well and gel with all of them,” said Turnbow-Lindenstadt. “When I came (to UC San Diego), my goal was to help the team in any way I could and make the team better.
“I have a lot of experience from over the years playing abroad in Europe, and all those different teams and experiences made me the player I am.”
It has turned out well. The sophomore scored a team-high four goals in a narrow 12-11 loss to No. 7 UC Davis to close last weekend’s MPSF Invitational, which was his fourth game this season scoring at least four goals.
Although he and the Tritons didn’t have the success they envisioned during last weekend’s MPSF Invite, finishing 2-2 and earning 10th place, Turnbow-Lindenstadt is optimistic about they can accomplish this season.
“Obviously it wasn’t the results we wanted, but the experience in that big-game environment will carry over into the postseason and our stretch run in conference play,” he said. “We have to keep up the intensity no matter who we’re playing. We always have to bring our 'A' game.”
UC SAN DIEGO VITALS
• Overall: 12-5
• WWPA: 3-1
• Home: 6-2
• Road: 3-1
• Neutral: 3-2
• Ranking (CWPA): 10
• Against Ranked Teams: 7-5
• Current Streak: Loss 1
GET TO KNOW THE 2018 TRITONS
UC San Diego returns six seniors and welcomes seven newcomers, six of which are freshmen. Eight of the team's nine-leading scorers from 2017 are back on campus, led by top scorer and ACWPC All-American Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt. In addition, redshirt junior goalkeeper Jack Turner rejoins the Tritons after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury. Meanwhile, junior Skyler Munatones, senior Alessandro Valania, junior Cooper Milton, senior captain Kevin Asplund, junior Noah Carniglia, sophomore Kacper Langiewicz, senior Carson Ivancovich, redshirt sophomore Jack Ranj and redshirt junior goalkeeper Sam Thompson remain from last season's squad, while senior captain Cole Martinez and junior transfer Myles Martinez are also expected to have a big role.
Twenty-six of the 29 Tritons on the roster are California natives, with the exception of junior Alessandro Valania from Savona, Italy as well as freshmen brothers Gonzalo Rivera and Jorge Rivera from Madrid, Spain. Local products include Kacper Langiewicz (San Marcos/Mission Hills HS), Cooper Milton (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS), Cole Martinez (San Diego/La Jolla HS), Myles Martinez (San Diego/La Jolla HS), Collin Sullivan (Escondido/San Pasqual HS), Jack Ranj (San Diego/Westview HS), Konstantin Karlov (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and Bennett Kienast (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS).
TRITONS PICKED SECOND IN WWPA COACHES' POLL
The UC San Diego men's water polo team was predicted to finish second in the 2018 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) standings according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches. It is the second-consecutive season UC San Diego was picked to finish second.
2018 WWPA MEN'S PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. UC Davis, 49 points (7 first-place votes)
2. UC San Diego, 42 (1)
T-3. Cal Baptist, 34
T-3. Loyola Marymount, 34
5. Air Force, 22
6. Santa Clara, 20
7. Concordia, 16
8. Fresno Pacific, 7
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE EAGLES
UC San Diego is 4-1 all-time against Concordia, with the Tritons defeating the Eagles on the road in last season's matchup, 17-11.
HEAD COACH DENNY HARPER
UC San Diego head coach Denny Harper is in his 39th season leading the Tritons and enters the 2018 campaign with a career record of 643-478-4 (.576). An 18-time WWPA Coach of the Year and 15-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 for the seventh-straight year.
UC San Diego finished the 2017 season at 11-14 overall, highlighted by a runner-up performance in the WWPA Tournament. The Tritons, the tournament's No. 2 seed with a 6-1 regular-season league record, defeated Santa Clara and California Baptist to advance to the WWPA Championship game against UC Davis. UC San Diego fought hard against No. 8-ranked UC Davis, but ultimately fell by a score of 9-6.
In 2017, the Tritons won nine games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Top-20 poll throughout the course of the season. UC San Diego was ranked as high as No. 12 nationally and faced a total of 11 teams ranked in the top-10.
Head coach Denny Harper was named the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) Division II Coach of the Year, while senior Arman Momdzhyan was tabbed Player of the Year. In addition, goalkeeper Sam Thompson and utility Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt each earned All-America accolades.
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UC San Diego continues action at home next weekend, as the Tritons play host to Princeton for Senior Day on Saturday, Oct. 27 beginning at 12 p.m.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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