Photo by: UCSD
The Triton Invitational features four teams ranked in the nation's top 20 poll.
Tritons and Lions Ready to Renew Rivalry as Home Tournament Marks Start of Season
Release: Wednesday 09/01/2010 

LA JOLLA, Calif. - As the 2010 season gets underway this weekend at the Triton Invitational, the No. 11 UC San Diego men's water polo team will get an early crack at conference rival No. 6 Loyola Marymount. The LMU Lions narrowly topped the Tritons, 5-4, to secure an automatic berth into the 2009 NCAA Final Four.

Losing NCAA Division II Player of the Year Steven Donohoe to graduation, UCSD features a young but balanced roster in 2010. The Tritons carry just three seniors: Ryan Allred, Jakub Bednarek and Bryce Madsen.

 "I kind of thought we were going to be balanced last year, but it definitely ended up being the Steve Donohoe show," Tritons' head coach Denny Harper said. "When we really, really needed key offensive moments to happen, Steve took it upon himself. This year, I'm seeing that anywhere from six to 10 different guys could step up. That's usually a good recipe for a successful ballclub."

This year's two-day Triton Invitational includes five teams: No. 6 LMU, No. 10 Pacific, No. 11 UCSD, No. 19 Air Force and La Verne. The Tritons play their season opener at 9 a.m. Saturday against the Falcons of the Air Force Academy. UCSD's marquee matchup with LMU will take place that afternoon at 2:15 p.m. The Lions have won three-straight Western Water Polo Association championships, withstanding strong challenges from the Tritons during the past two seasons.

UCSD returns goalkeeper David Morton, who earned selection to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-American First Team in 2009. He recorded 296 saves last year, the second highest single-season total in program history.

The Tritons also return John Butler, who was named to the WWPA All-Freshman team. Butler scored five goals with 13 assists in his first season on campus. There are seven newcomers to the UCSD roster, including six freshmen and junior college transfer Karl Weit. A two-year starter at Cuesta College, Weit was voted to the All-Conference First Team during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

With regards to recent results against the teams from this year's Triton Invitational field, UCSD topped Pacific, 8-5, fell to Air Force, 14-12, and suffered three losses to LMU in 2009. The Tritons and La Verne Leopards last met on Sept. 8, 2007, a match that ended in a 15-4 victory for UCSD.

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