Long Beach State Hosts MPSF Championship Tournament

Friday, Nov. 21 (Quarterfinals)

Game 1--Play-In: No. 8 Pacific vs. No. 9 UCSB-- 8:30 am

Game 2--No. 4 seed Long Beach St vs. No. 5 seed Cal--10:00 am

Game 3--No. 3 seed USC vs. No. 6 seed UC Irvine--11:30 am

Game 4--No. 2 seed Stanford vs. No. 7 seed Pepperdine--1:30 pm

Game 5--No. 1 seed UCLA vs. Winner Game 1--3:00 pm

MPSF Men's Water Polo Pre-Championship Release

MPSF Men's Water Polo Tournament Central

2014 MPSF Men's Water Polo Final Regular Season Stats

UCLA (25-2 Overall, 8-0 MPSF) went unbeaten in the MPSF for the first time since 2004, and fourth time overall (2014, '04, '99, '95), and takes the No. 1 seed to this weekend's conference championship tournament. The Bruins meet Friday morning's play-in winner between UCSB and Pacific at 3 pm that afternoon (Nov. 21) at Long Beach State. UCLA was 2-0 against Pacific and 1-0 vs. UCSB this year, all on the road. UCLA achieved MPSF perfection this past Saturday with a 16-8 win over Long Beach State, behind Gordon Marshall's four goals and Cristiano Mirarchi's three, along with an eight-for-nine power play effort. The Bruins allow an MPSF-best 5.30 goals per game, anchored in the cage by Garrett Danner's 6.05 goals-against average, also tops in the conference. Mirarchi has tallied 45 goals (1.96 GPG), followed by Paul Reynolds with 44 (1.91 GPG).

STANFORD (22-3 Overall, 7-1 MPSF) is seeded second, first meeting No. 7 seed Pepperdine at 1:30 pm Friday. Stanford won the only meeting of the season on Oct. 26 in Malibu, 13-4. The Cardinal concluded the regular season last week with wins over Santa Clara (22-5) and Pacific (11-8), and scores an MPSF-best 15.72 goals per game this year. This season marks the first time Stanford has won 22 of its first 25 since 2002, a season which resulted in an NCAA Championship. Bret Bonanni recorded a hat trick in both games last week, giving him 81 on the year (3.24 GPG), ranking second in the MPSF. He has accumulated 251 career goals entering the postseason, jumping to sixth all-time in MPSF history. He enters the week three away from USC's Nikola Vavic (254; 2010-13) and seven from UCI's Ryan Bailey (258; 1995-98), who are fifth and fourth respectively. Teammate Alex Bowen's six goals last week put him at 237, five away from the all-time MPSF top-10.

USC (21-4 Overall, 6-2 MPSF) ended the regular season by edging California at home, 7-6. Kostas Genidounias and Marc Vonderweidt scored three goals apiece and McQuin Baron had 11 saves to ensure the three seed for the Trojans. They face No. 6 seed UC Irvine Friday at 11:30 am. USC won the only regular season meeting on Nov. 9 at UCI, 14-10. USC is the defending MPSF Tournament Champion (Seeded fourth last year), and the six-time defending NCAA Champion. Genidounias owns 70 goals in 25 games this year (2.80 GPG), ranking third in the conference. He has tallied 249 in his career, seventh-best in MPSF history, and five away from Nikola Vavic's school record of 254.

LONG BEACH STATE (18-6 Overall, 5-3 MPSF) recorded its highest MPSF win total in program history with five, and fittingly, serves as this year's host of the MPSF Championship Tournament. The tournament will be contested at the newly dedicated Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center, Nov. 21-23. The fourth-seeded 49ers host fifth-seeded California in Friday's quarterfinals at 10 am. After dropping both the non-conference regular season games to the Bears (8-6 @ NorCal and 14-8 @ SoCal), the Beach won the MPSF game in Berkeley, 12-10 on Nov. 2. Zacchary Kappos leads Long Beach State with 55 goals in 24 games (2.29 GPG), ranking fifth in the MPSF.

CALIFORNIA (20-6 Overall, 4-4 MPSF) is seeded fifth, taking on the host Long Beach State in the quarterfinals. Aleksa Saponjic and Colin Mulcahy each scored twice In the regular season finale at USC, thus totaling 61 and 56 respectively for the year. Saponjic ranks fourth in the MPSF with 2.35 goals per game, while Mulcahy is seventh with 2.15. Luca Cupido is the third Golden Bear to chip in 40 goals on the year (1.90 GPG).

UC IRVINE (15-11 Overall, 2-6 MPSF) finished in a three-way tie for sixth, and wins that tiebreaker for the No. 6 seed, due to the best MPSF goal differential against its fellow tied teams (plus 7 over Pacific, minus 2 with Pepperdine= plus 5 overall). UCI came away with a regular season ending 9-6 win over UCSB. Both Anteater goalkeepers, Dylan Peterson and Byron Rivers, are the only two `keepers in the conference averaging over 12 saves per contest. Offensively, UCI has been led all season by MPSF scoring leader Lovre Milos, who has poured in 88 goals in 26 games (3.38 GPG). Currently seventh in MPSF single-season scoring history, Milos is 13 goals away from breaking that all-time record (Ryan Bailey-UCI; 101 in 1998).

PEPPERDINE (10-13 Overall, 2-6 MPSF) is seeded seventh, after having the second-best goal differential head-to-head against its fellow tied teams (plus 2 over UCI, minus 4 with Pacific=minus 2 overall). Luke Hewko (49 goals, 2.13 GPG) and Wesley Sherburne (46 goals, 2.00 GPG) rank eighth and ninth in the MPSF in scoring.

PACIFIC (14-11 Overall, 2-6 MPSF) faces UC Santa Barbara Friday at 8:30 am in the MPSF play-in game, which was brought back to the MPSF for the first time since 2002. The Tigers won two of three meetings this year, with UCSB winning the NorCal contest, 9-7, and Pacific winning in the SoCal Tournament game and the conference home game, 8-7. The play-in winner takes on No. 1 UCLA the same day at 3 pm. Pacific wrapped up its regular season with a home win over Pepperdine, 11-7. Ben Stevenson is the Pacific scoring leader with 54 goals in 25 games (2.16 GPG), ranking sixth in the MPSF.

UC SANTA BARBARA (9-13 Overall, 0-8 MPSF) competes in Friday's play-in game at 8:30 am against Pacific for the rights to take on No. 1 UCLA at 3 pm that afternoon. The Gauchos got two goals from Bryan Snyder in the regular season's last game at UC Irvine. Shane Hauschild is the Gaucho scoring leader with 27 goals in 22 games (1.23 GPG).