LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No 9 UC San Diego men's water polo team will host No. 2 Cal in non-conference play on Sunday afternoon at Canyonview Pool.
Match No. 15
No. 9 UCSD (11-3) vs. No. 2 Cal (11-2)
Sunday, October 9 - 12:00 p.m.
Canyonview Aquatic Center - La Jolla, Calif.
Second-ranked Cal, the 2010 national runners-up, will play three matches this weekend in Southern California. The Bears will travel to play No. 3 UCLA and No. 14 Long Beach State on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before ending the weekend against the Tritons on Sunday. Cal moved up a notch this week in the CWPA National Poll after finishing runner-up to Stanford at last weekend's Socal Tournament. Cal has outscored its opponents, 172-71, this season and leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with 13.23 goals per game. The Bears are led by 2010 National Player of the Year Ivan Rackov, who currently tops the MPSF with 41 goals in 12 matches. Luka Saponjic is second on the team with 25 goals, while his brother, Aleksa, is third with 12 goals. The Bears have won seven of their last eight contests.
It's been five years since UCSD and Cal last clashed in the pool. The last time the two teams met, the top-ranked Bears took down the fifth-ranked Tritons, 12-8, at the NorCal Tournament on September 16, 2006. UCSD fell behind 7-2 at halftime but put together a rally in the third period, outscoring the Bears 4-1. The Tritons narrowed their deficit to 8-6 through three, but the Bears out-dueled UCSD in the final stanza to take the four-goal victory. A.J. Kotanjian (2006-08) and Ty Lackey (2005-06) scored a pair of goals in defeat for UCSD.
MORTON TAKES HOME WWPA WEEKLY HONOR
Senior goalkeeper David Morton was awarded the Western Water Polo Association Player of the Week for the week of September 28- August 4, it was announced Wednesday. Morton, from Salinas, Calif., stopped 41 shots over the weekend at the Socal Tournament, leading the Tritons to a ninth place finish and a 3-1 record on the weekend. He saved a season-high 15 shots in UCSD's 9-5 win over WWPA-rival Loyola Marymount and then tallied 12 saves in the Tritons' 11-10 victory over UC Davis in the ninth-place match. He currently has the most saves of any Triton goalie in school history, with 948 stops over his four-year UCSD career. Morton is the second UCSD player to earn WWPA Player of the Week this season. Graham Saber earned the distinction on September 14.
UCSD took home ninth place at the Socal Invitational last weekend after going 3-1 and defeating WWPA-foes Air Force, Loyola Marymount and UC Davis in the process. The Tritons got off to a rocky start by falling to UC Santa Barbara in their opening match, 15-9. UCSD rebounded by narrowly escaping Air Force in the second match of the tournament. Down by two with 2:54 remaining, John Butler and Graham Saber scored to tie the match at 11 apiece with 55 seconds left. Saber then handed the Tritons the victory with a goal with five seconds left on the clock. UCSD's 12-11 win over Air Force was the third time the Tritons have topped the Falcons this season.
UCSD avenged two previous losses to Loyola Marymount earlier this season with a 9-5 win over the Lions on Sunday morning. The Tritons rushed out to a 6-1 halftime lead and never looked back, using a hat trick by Saber and a pair of goals by Matthew Michalko to provide the offensive punch. UC Davis would prove to be a much stiffer test for UCSD in the ninth place match, as the teams traded the lead three times in the opening quarter. Hank Dickey gave UCD a slight lead at 6-5 with 55 seconds remaining in the second, but Michalko tacked one on to even the score at 6-6 heading into the half. Michalko then gave the Tritons the lead for good with 5:32 remaining in the third and Saber scored his third goal of the match to make it 11-8 less than a minute into the final stanza. The Aggies would get a pair back to bring it within one with a minute remaining, but UCSD forced a turnover and then drew an ejection in the final seconds to let the clock run out leading 11-10. The losses were the first conference blemishes for LMU and UCD this season.
WHERE DO THE TRITONS STAND?
After its pair of wins over the WWPA's top squads, UCSD was rewarded by being named the ninth-ranked team in the CWPA National Poll on October 5. It is the highest the Tritons have been ranked since finishing the final week of the 2010 regular season as No. 9. UCSD is currently the highest-ranked WWPA team in the CWPA poll. The Tritons also have the highest overall win-percentage in the WWPA (.786, 11-3), ahead of No. 10 UCD (.762, 16-5) and No. 12 LMU (.615, 8-5). Only the Aggies have more wins against WWPA teams than the Tritons. UCD is 10-1 in the WWPA, while UCSD is 9-2 in conference competition.
FOLLOW THE TRITONS
There are now more ways than ever to follow the Tritons. Of course, you've always got ucsdtritons.com at your fingertips, but our social media scene is growing by the hour. Get instant updates on Twitter and like us on Facebook. For a more visual approach, watch us on YouTube. We recently reached 1,000 followers on our Twitter account, @UCSDathletics, and awarded a lucky fan with four free tickets to any UCSD home contest during the 2011-12 school year. Be sure to follow us all year for more great giveaways!