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UCLA Men’s Water Polo Season Preview: The Bruins Look to Reload

The Bruins lost eight players due to graduation, but have nine incoming freshman ready to carry on the tradition that is UCLA Water Polo.

Alexander Roelse is one of this year’s seniors who will look to capture UCLA’s second men’s water polo national championship in three seasons.

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, last season was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

On the positive side, the Bruins set the NCAA record for the most consecutive victories by a team when they broke Stanford’s record which was 51 games. The Bruins went on to win five more games after breaking the record to establish a new mark of 57 games.

Yet, then, suddenly, the team found itself on the ropes. They lost what would have been their 58th straight to Southern Cal on November 12th and then, just eight days later, the teams squared off again with the MPSF title on the line and, this time, Southern Cal won again by a score of 9-6. The Bruins lost the #1 seed as a result and they faced UC Berkeley in the semifinal and, despite having beaten the Golden Bears in three previous matchups last year, the Bruins lost 9-8 to the eventual national champs.

This year, the Bruins return to action having lost eight seniors from last season’s team, but they’ve also gained a coach as Ryder Roberts has been hired as an assistant coach for the team. In addition to Roberts, key players that the team has lost include goalkeeper Garrett Danner, defender Chancellor Ramirez, center Patrick Woepse and attacker Patrick Fellner.

But, the Bruins have responded to the loss by recruiting nine incoming freshman. Three of the freshman come to Westwood from Harvard-Westlake and two come from Huntington Beach HS. Luke Henriksson, Felix Brozyna-Vilim and Evan Rosenfeld join the team from Harvard-Westlake while center Quinten Osborne and goalkeeper Patrick Saunders arrive in Westwood from Huntington Beach. UCLA’s other incoming freshman include attackers Chasen Travisano, Nicolas Saveljic and Ryan Sawyer and defender Bailey Jarvis.

The schedule looks pretty similar to last year’s schedule. It’s front-loaded with a bunch of games against teams UCLA should have no problem with and it’s back-loaded against the top talent in the country. Three of the last five games feature UC Berkeley, Stanford and, of course, Southern Cal before heading into the MPSF Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, which will be held across town at Southern Cal this year.

Tomorrow, the team opens the season with unique tripleheader at the UCLA Invitational at the Spieker Aquatic Center. The Bruins will face Pomona-Pitzer at 9 am, Claremont-Mudd Scripps at 1 pm and then they will play an exhibition game against Southern Cal at 2:20 pm.

Be sure to check out our preview of tomorrow’s actions tomorrow morning.

Go Bruins!!!