LA JOLLA, Calif. — Labor Day weekend is meant for water polo.
UC San Diego will host the 2018 Triton Invitational this weekend, Sept. 1-2, at Canyonview Aquatic Center. The invite has been a program staple since 1983, and this year's edition could be the best yet.
"It's an awesome event," said UC San Diego head coach Denny Harper. "We're always really excited to be hosting a tournament on opening weekend.
"It's the start of the season and I'm a big fan of it. I love the teams that come here ready to play and compete."
This year's field consists of 12 teams, with four ranked in the top-10 of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Top-20 poll and four others either ranked or receiving votes.
Aside from the 12th-ranked Tritons, this weekend's action includes No. 3 Cal, No. 6 Long Beach State, No. 9 UC Irvine and No. 10 UC Santa Barbara.
In addition, No. 16 California Baptist, No. T-20 Air Force and No. RV Concordia Irvine will also be in action. Rounding out the field is Chapman, La Verne, Loyola Marymount and Redlands.
"You have perennial power Cal and then a nice mix of (Golden Coast Conference) and (Western Water Polo Association) teams," said Harper. "There's a couple (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) SCIAC teams that make it an interesting tournament.
"I think everyone will get some good experience this weekend to open the season."
The Tritons begin play at the invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1 against La Verne, beginning at 8 a.m. PT. UC San Diego then takes on No. 9 UC Irvine on Saturday starting at 12 p.m.
LET ME IN
UC San Diego students are admitted free of charge to the Triton Invitational with a valid ID. For general admission, day passes are $15 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under as well as seniors 65 and over. Children 3-years-old and younger receive free admission. Tickets may only be purchased at the door. For a schedule of all games, click here. For directions to the venue, click here.
WHERE TO PARK
Parking on the UC San Diego campus is free on Saturdays and Sundays. Spectators are advised to park immediately east of Canyonview Aquatic Center at P510 on Voigt Drive, as well as P701 adjacent to Triton Ballpark east of the freeway overpass on Voigt Drive.
GET TO KNOW THE 2018 TRITONS
The Tritons have big shoes to fill with the departure of ACWPC Player of the Year two-time All-American Arman Momdzhyan, but have plenty of options to choose from.
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, junior Skylar Munatones, senior Alessandro Valania, junior Cooper Milton, senior Kevin Asplund, junior Noah Carniglia, senior Carson Ivancovich and redshirt sophomore Jack Ranj remain form last season's squad, while junior transfer Myles Martinez is 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).
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.
The Tritons are 29-12 in season openers since the inception of the program in 1977. Since 2005, UC San Diego is 25-21 at the Triton Invitational. At last year's invite, UC San Diego went 1-3, with losses to No. 1 Cal, No. 9 UC Davis and No. 13 UC Irvine.
HEAD COACH DENNY HARPER
UC San Diego head coach Denny Harper is in his 39th season leading the Tritons with a career record of 6643-478-4 (.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 Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for Triton apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 1,000 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UC San Diego home athletic events, and much more!
UCSD Athletics on Facebook (UCSDtritons)
UCSD Athletics on Twitter (UCSDtritons)
UCSD Athletics on Instagram (UCSDtritons)
UCSD Athletics on YouTube (UCSDathletics)
UCSD Water Polo on Facebook (UCSDTritonsMWP)
UCSD Water Polo on Twitter (UCSDTritonsMWP)
UCSD Water Polo on Instagram (ucsdtritonsmwp)
Following this weekend's Triton Invitational, UC San Diego hits the road to compete in UC Irvine's GCC vs. WWPA Clash on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Tritons take on UC Irvine beginning at 10 a.m. PT, before facing Pepperdine at 4:50 p.m.