Undefeated No. 1 Southern California to battle No. 3 Pacific in MPSF play
No. 1 Southern California, No. 3 Pacific
No. 1 Southern California digs deeper into MPSF action this week with a crucial visit to No. 3 Pacific. The Trojans will tangle with the No. 3 Tigers on Saturday in Stockton. USC is battling to remain the only team undefeated in MPSF play to date.
USC turned a high-scoring affair to its favor last weekend as the Trojans outgunned their No. 6 host UC Santa Barbara to the tune of a 16-10 win. Connor Virjee was USC's top gun on the day with a career-high five goals for the Trojan cause.
No. 2 UCLA
No. 2 UCLA (21-2, 2-1 MPSF) hosts No. 5 California (13-4, 2-1 MPSF) on Friday before facing No. 10 Concordia (17-8) in a non-conference tilt.
UCLA is 75-65-1 all-time vs. California. The Bruins defeated the Golden Bears 6-5 in the semifinals of the NorCal Invitational (Sept. 22). UCLA is 5-3 vs. California the last three years (since 2011), with all five wins coming by one goal. The Bruins are 5-0 all-time vs. Concordia, defeating the Eagles 17-4 (Sept. 21) in the first round of the NorCal Invitational.
No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 UC Santa Barbara
Fourth-ranked Stanford concludes its season-long four-game homestand and plays its penultimate regular-season home game of 2013 on Sunday when it hosts No. 6 UC Santa Barbara.
The Cardinal (13-4, 2-1 MPSF) enters the game on a three-game winning streak after earning victories against No. 2 UCLA, No. 11 UC Davis and No. 9 Pepperdine in the past two weeks. Sunday's contest will be the first meeting of the season between the Cardinal and Gauchos (15-6, 2-2 MPSF).
Heading into the weekend's action sophomore driver Bret Bonanni leads the MPSF with 3.65 goals per game and has scored a team-leading 62 on the year. Junior utility Alex Bowen is next on the team list with 44 goals and his 2.59 goals per game rank eighth in the MPSF. For the Cardinal, BJ Churnside (24 goals) and Forrest Watkins (21) have exceeded the 20-goal mark.
No. 5 California
Cal (13-4, 2-1) will battle No. 2-ranked UCLA (21-2, 2-1) in a Friday afternoon match. The Golden Bears have won five of their last six contests and four consecutive entering this weekend’s matches.
Cal’s four losses this season have all been to teams currently ranked higher in the national polls - to then-No. 1-ranked UCLA (6-5) and Stanford (12-10) at the NorCal Invite, No. 4 Stanford (14-8) at the SoCal Invite and 7-6 to No. 3 Pacific on Oct. 5 at home.
No. 7 Long Beach State, No. 9 Pepperdine
Long Beach State continues MPSF action with two games this weekend. The 49ers will travel to No. 9 Pepperdine on Saturday, and then host No. 5 Cal on Sunday.
Last week, Pepperdine traveled north to take on two of the top programs in the country. On Friday, the Waves lost to No. 5 California 11-6. Just two days later Pepperdine was back in action, this time taking on No. 4 Stanford. The Cardinal jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and never looked back, taking the match 11-3.
No. 8 UC Irvine
UC Irvine travels to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday for an MPSF game.
Last week, second-ranked UCLA built a 10-3 halftime lead and had seven players with at least two goals each in defeating No. 8 UC Irvine 18-5 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game at Anteater Aquatics Complex.
No. 10 UC San Diego
UCSD sits in a favorable spot in the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) at 3-0 with two games remaining. The Tritons are coming off a 15-10 win against 2012 champion Air Force last Friday. UCSD has also defeated preseason favorite Loyola Marymount 11-7 and California Baptist 9-8 inside conference play in 2013. The Tritons wrap up WWPA play against Santa Clara and UC Davis this weekend. If UCSD is able to sweep the two matches, a top seed at the conference tournament will be rewarded to the Tritons.