The UCLA men’s water polo team opens the season this morning with a doubleheader at the Navy Open in Annapolis, Maryland. The Bruins’ first opponent of the day will be the Fordham Rams at 8:30 am PT. Then, at 12:15 pm PT, UCLA will face the #12 Princeton Tigers.
This marks a change from the usual schedule that the Bruins have had for the past few years as UCLA will be playing in the Navy Open rather than the Princeton Invitational. That may have something to do with the fact that longtime Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao has left the Tigers and taken over the program at Navy.
Let’s look at this year’s Bruin team.
This year’s roster has seen some major changes. In addition to last year’s four seniors, including Austin Rone, who all graduated, four players who were juniors are no longer with the team including Eric Goldenberg, Raphael Reade and James Vlachonassios. There are also three guys who were sophomores last season who aren’t on this year’s roster either. They are Peter Lovas, Quinten Osborne, and Luke Henriksson. Danny Jarvis, who was a freshman goalkeeper last season has also departed. That’s an awful lot of turnover for a relatively small team.
This year’s team will be led by a quintet of upperclassmen. Goalkeeper Alex Wolf returns for his senior season while a core of four juniors will provide additional leadership for this team. Those juniors are Felix Brozyna-Vilim, Evan Rosenfeld, Nicolas Saveljic, and Chasen Travisano. Ashworth Molthen is the most notable returning sophomore.
Head Coach Adam Wright has brought in a few transfers to help the team. Levon Gukasyan joins the Bruins from LA Valley College while sophomore goalkeeper Sam Krutonog, a former Trojan, is now in Westwood.
Will Morgan, Brock Petersen, Ryan Sawyer, Henry Wilde, Tega Cheishvili, and Chase Petersen all redshirted last season and will compete for playing time. Meanwhile, Wright has also added seven true freshmen to this year’s squad. Bernardo Maurizi, Gabe Discipulo, Andy Rodgers, Jack White, Cameron Reagan, Max Berg, and Tommy Gruwell make up the Bruins’ freshmen class this year.
As is typical with early season matchups, the game against Fordham shouldn’t really be a contest. Look for Adam Wright to use it as a game to get some of his younger guys some time in the pool. The afternoon game against #12 Princeton will be tougher, but, again, shouldn’t be another win for the Bruins.
This is your UCLA men’s water polo Navy Open open thread.