No. 1 UCLA
Friday, Oct. 4 • 6 p.m.
Canyonview Aquatics Center • La Jolla
The 12th ranked Tritons will take on the number one team in the nation, UCLA, under the lights at the East Pool inside Canyonview Aquatics Center Friday. The game will honor the 30th anniversary of the venue that contains a rich tradition of excellence. Head coach Denny Harper’s squads captured 13 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) championships and entered the Guinness Book of Records by playing 26 continuous hours of water polo on April 7-8, 1989 at the East Pool. Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate for $5 and seating will be available in the stands on one side and the grassy hill on the other.
The Tritons sit at 7-7 overall and 1-0 in the WWPA after going 2-1 last week. On Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 1,639, UCSD grabbed an 11-7 win over conference-rival No. 10 Loyola Marymount before beating Navy, 11-9, Friday night. The Tritons fell to No. 6 UC Santa Barbara, 11-7, Saturday to wrap up the week. Overall, UCSD boasts a well-balanced offensive attack, highlighted by five players that have totaled double-digits in goals, assists and steals in 2013: Chase Cockerill (10g, 24a, 26s), Joe Dietrich (17g, 16a, 11s), Jeffrey Jarvis (22g, 12a, 12s), Luca De Vivo (13g, 17a, 39s) and David Higginson (22g, 22a, 14s). Three Tritons are tied for the team lead in scores, as Tommy Friedrich, Jarvis and Higginson have totaled 22 each. Cockerill leads the team in assists with 24, while De Vivo has grabbed the most steals with 39. UCSD also possesses five players with 10 or more ejections drawn, led by Matt Michalko with 19.
DIETRICH EARNS WWPA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UCSD’s Joe Dietrich was named on Wednesday the Kap7/Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Co-Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 23-29. Caleb Guarino of Air Force also earned the weekly honor. He totaled seven goals, four assists and three steals in the three games for the Tritons. The award marks the first of his career.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK
UCSD currently sits at 1-0 in the WWPA. Loyola Marymount (0-1) was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the WWPA after receiving three first-place votes, finishing ahead of previous WWPA champions Air Force (2012) and UCSD (2011) by two points. Defending champion Air Force (1-0) came in tied for second alongside the Tritons. The Falcons received two first-place votes, while UCSD grabbed the final first-place vote. UC Davis (0-0) was predicted to finish fourth, Santa Clara (0-0) was voted fifth and newcomer California Baptist (0-1) was picked sixth to round out the conference. The Tritons are idle in conference play until Friday, Oct. 11. UCSD will travel to Riverside to take on California Baptist at 3 p.m.
Head coach Denny Harper managed his 1,000th career game on Sept. 21 … Cameron Ravanbach now sits at 391 career saves. The junior from La Jolla HS entered UCSD’s top 10 all-time career saves list at No. 10, passing assistant coach Glenn Busch’s (1997-00) mark of 371 … De Vivo is approaching the single season top-10 ranks in steals, needing 15 to crack the list … The Tritons don’t sport a single senior on its roster, yet have seven freshman … Six different players have tallied their first career goals as Tritons: Daniel Straub (1), Jack Bernstein (1), Bryan Lee (1), Connor Watson (2), Andy Moore (3) and De Vivo (13) … UCSD has five players with local ties: Ravanbach (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Straub (San Diego/Patrick Henry HS), Friedrich (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Michalko (San Diego/The Bishop’s School) and Higginson (San Diego/The Bishop’s School).
HEAD COACH DENNY HARPER
UCSD head coach Denny Harper is in his 34th season leading the Tritons. He has compiled a career record of 578-423-4, with a winning percentage of .575. Harper has led the Tritons to 15 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) titles and 11 appearances in the NCAA national championships. He has been named WWPA Coach of the Year 16 times and the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPA) Division II Coach of the Year five times. During the 2006 season, the Tritons set a program record in wins, completing a 26-6 season with their 14th WWPA title and a third-place finish at the NCAA National Championship tournament. Harper, a 1978 graduate of San Diego State University, began coaching at Rancho Alamitos High School, Indio High School and SDSU before coming to UCSD.
ABOUT THE BRUINS
UCLA is currently ranked atop the Collegiate Water Polo Association poll at No. 1 after posting a 14-0 record to start 2013. The Bruins recently snapped No. 2 USC’s, who was ranked one at the time, 41-game winning streak dating back to 2011. UCLA defeated the Trojans 9-8 in the NorCal Tournament finals. UCLA possesses three players that have totaled 20 or more scores, led by senior Paul Reynolds and freshman attacker Lovre Milos with 23 apiece. Reynolds was a second team All-MPSF selection in 2012 after totaling 44 goals, 46 assists and 35 steals. Senior Lucas Reynolds is second on the team with 20 goals. Overall, the Bruins have scored 221 times for an average of 15.8 goals per game. On defense, redshirt freshman Garrett Danner has been solid in the cage. He has blocked 101 shots for an average of 9.1 saves per game and boasts an impressive 4.95 goals against average. UCLA will be making its second trip to Canyonview in 2013 after competing at the Triton Invitational on Sept. 7-8. UCLA, led by fifth-year coach Adam Wright, finished 2012 one goal short of an NCAA national championship and finished 28-5 overall and 7-1 in the MPSF.
UCLA is 54-2 all-time against the Tritons. The Bruins grabbed a victory at Canyonview on Sept. 8, scoring four times in each quarter to win 16-6. Reynolds and Milos combined for six scores in the win, while Higginson led UCSD with three goals. Garrett Danner blocked 13 Triton shots for the Bruins. UCSD currently has lost eight straight games against UCLA. The last victory against the Bruins came in 2006 in front of a crowd of 1,740 at Canyonview. The Tritons grabbed a 13-12 victory after scoring the game-winning goal with 28 seconds remaining.
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THE BIG PICTURE
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The Tritons will play five games over the course of three days next week, starting with a WWPA matchup with California Baptist on Friday, Oct. 11. The game in Riverside is slated to begin at 3 p.m. UCSD will then travel to Irvine to compete at the SoCal Tournament on Oct. 12-13. The schedule will be released next week.