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.