There were no surprises during the first day of the SoCal Invitational men’s water polo tournament which UCLA is co-hosting this weekend with LMU. After the Bruins defeating the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 12-2 yesterday, UCLA will now face #7 UC Berkeley this morning at 8 am PT.
While it’s still early in the season, this week’s CWPA rankings don’t have a Pac-12 team ranked #1 for the first time in recent memory and two of the top four teams are not Pac-12 teams. Instead, the UC Berkeley Golden Bears, who the Bruins will face this morning, are ranked 7th in the nation and UCSB, Pacific and Pepperdine are all ranked higher than the Bears. But, more on that in a bit.
Last Time Out
Yesterday, the Bruins crushed Pomona-Pitzer, 12-2. This game was over in the first quarter after UCLA started the game with three consecutive goals. Felix Brozyna-Vilim got things going with the first goal for the Bruins. Freshman Tommy Gruwell made it 2-0 with 5:42 left in the quarter. With 2:36 left, Gabe Discipulo added a power play goal which made it 3-0 and which proved to be the game-winner.
The Sagehens scored one of their two goals with 30 seconds left in the first quarter and it was 3-1 after one.
The Bruins opened the second quarter with goals by Jake Cavano and Brozyna-Vilim before Pomona-Pitzer scored their second, and final, goal of the game. In the last two minutes of the first half, Ashworth Molthen scored twice to make it 5-2 at the break.
UCLA added four goals in the third quarter to increase their lead to 9-2. The third quarter goals were scored by Ryan Sawyer, Henry Wilde, Cavano and Matthew Kacura.
Meanwhile, Jack White scored UCLA’s final goal in this one with 7:42 left in the game as the Bruins won, 12-2.
UC Berkeley Golden Bears
The Golden Bears are ranked an uncharacteristically low seventh in the latest CWPA coaches poll. In, at least, the recent past, men’s collegiate water polo has been dominated by four schools — UCLA, Southern Cal, Stanford and UC Berkeley — but, with two of those four schools not currently ranked in the top four, is there a seismic shift going on or is the current situation only temporary? Well, that remains to be seen. So far this season, the Bears have lost to UCSB, UC Davis and Pacific.
This morning’s game will be a good indicator of whether a seismic shift may be occuring. If the Bruins beat the Bears by more than 10 points, that shift may be occurring. On the other hand, if today’s game is a close one, and I think it will be, then I think the Bears may be underranked right now.
Either way, with today’s game being played at the Spieker Aquatics Center in Westwood, I’m predicting a Bruin win, 10-7.