LA JOLLA, Calif. — “I prefer not to.”
That was the response from University of California San Diego men’s water polo’s Noah Carniglia after a recent home game when asked to do a postgame interview.
Currently third among Tritons this season with 30 total points (20 goals and 10 assists), most would relish being in the spotlight.
But for those who know Carniglia, it's not much of a surprise.
“I think it’s just one of those things where he’d prefer not to be interviewed or talked about,” said UC San Diego head coach Denny Harper. “He probably has a list of things he’d prefer not to do.”
Instead, Carniglia prefers to dominate in the pool. The junior recorded a team-high five goals in a road victory over Air Force on Sept. 28, lifting the Tritons to their fourth-straight win and a 3-0 start in Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) play.
Still, the 6-foot-4 Lodi, Calif., native downplayed the stellar performance in typical style.
“Throughout the game, I wasn’t thinking about how many goals I had,” Carniglia said prior to Wednesday’s practice, as he prepares to lead No. 8 UC San Diego into Friday's home contest against No. 14 California Baptist. “I was just doing my job. But toward the end of the game I realized, ‘Oh, I have five goals.’”
Perhaps his humility stems from standout performances being normal in the Carniglia family.
His older brother, Nick, led Cal to the national championship in 2016, scoring 21 goals that season for the Golden Bears.
Nick is currently playing in Spain with hopes of making the USA Olympic team in 2020. He also recently competed for Team USA at the FINA World Cup in Germany alongside UC San Diego redshirt junior goalkeeper Jack Turner.
While Turner acknowledged there are differences between the two brothers, there are similarities as well.
“Personality wise, they’re complete opposites,” said Turner. “(Nick) is a super-outgoing guy who’s always joking with everybody. (Noah) is a little more reserved and doesn’t get out of his comfort zone too often.
“But playing style, you see the same drive. They both want to get out there and be the best they can be. I see it in Noah, he can play with the best.”
Harper knows Carniglia's importance to the team is mostly due to his physical ability, but the Tritons’ 39th-year head coach appreciates that Carniglia’s life doesn’t revolve around water polo.
“(Carniglia) is vital to our success, both defensively and offensively,” said Harper. “He’s super talented and doesn’t even realize how talented he is. He’s gotten better every single year he’s been in this program.
“But he’s a well-balanced guy. It’s not like water polo is everything in the world to him. He balances water polo, academics and his family. Some guys are literally at school just so they can play their sport.”
A cognitive science major with an emphasis in machine learning, Carniglia looks forward to beginning his career after graduation, not playing water polo.
He’ll show you how smart he is too. All you have to do is hand him a Rubik’s Cube, which he can solve in less than a minute.
“I knew my brother (Nick) was able to do it,” he said, “so I was like, ‘Oh hey, I might as well try.’”
UC SAN DIEGO VITALS
• Overall: 10-2
• WWPA: 3-0
• Home: 6-1
• Road: 3-1
• Neutral: 1-0
• Ranking (CWPA): T-8
• Against Ranked Teams: 6-2
• Current Streak: Won 4
UC San Diego's home game this week against California Baptist features a live pay-per-view video stream on UCSDtritons.tv. The cost is $5.99 for a 24-hour window and $34.99 for the entire 2018-19 academic year, to include other Triton athletics teams. Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Seth Smith (@ItsSethESmith) handles the play-by-play duties. Events are archived and all games have live stats. Fans can access live coverage from the Schedule/Results page, or by clicking on the links above.
GET TO KNOW THE 2018 TRITONS
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, redshirt junior goalkeeper Jack Turner rejoins the Tritons after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury. Meanwhile, junior Skyler Munatones, senior Alessandro Valania, junior Cooper Milton, senior captain Kevin Asplund, junior Noah Carniglia, sophomore Kacper Langiewicz, senior Carson Ivancovich, redshirt sophomore Jack Ranj and redshirt junior goalkeeper Sam Thompson remain from last season's squad, while senior captain Cole Martinez and junior transfer Myles Martinez are 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).
TRITONS PICKED SECOND IN WWPA COACHES' POLL
The UC San Diego men's water polo team was predicted to finish second in the 2018 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) standings according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches. It is the second-consecutive season UC San Diego was picked to finish second.
2018 WWPA MEN'S PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. UC Davis, 49 points (7 first-place votes)
2. UC San Diego, 42 (1)
T-3. Cal Baptist, 34
T-3. Loyola Marymount, 34
5. Air Force, 22
6. Santa Clara, 20
7. Concordia, 16
8. Fresno Pacific, 7
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE LANCERS
UC San Diego is a perfect 13-0 all-time against California Baptist. The Tritons earned an 18-12 victory in their meeting earlier this seasonon Sept. 2.
HEAD COACH DENNY HARPER
UC San Diego head coach Denny Harper is in his 39th season leading the Tritons and enters the 2018 campaign with a career record of 643-478-4 (.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 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.
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Following this week's action, the Tritons hit the road to compete in the MPSF Invitational hosted by Stanford on Oct. 12-14.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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