Water Polo Begins Spring Exhibition Season This Weekend
March 29, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - While the process for hiring a new full-time men's water polo coach should hopefully be wrapped up in the near future, Pepperdine has a packed spring exhibition schedule that will begin this weekend.
The Waves face Loyola Marymount and Concordia at LMU this Saturday (March 31). They will then travel to UC Santa Barbara on April 7 to face Concordia and UCSB. They will then close out the spring season on April 15 at USC as they face the defending national champion Trojans, Long Beach State and UC Irvine.
As the team begins its spring season, interim head coach Gary O'Brien is impressed with the level of play that he's seen.
"They look really good and in the last few weeks they have been working really hard," O'Brien stated. "We have every spot filled along with a backup. We are deep, with no holes in our group this year, and we are really strong. We are hoping we can make an impact this year."
The Waves will need to look for replacements for the offensive production of Andrew Milcovich (Walnut Creek, Calif./De La Salle HS), Nate Castillo (Newport Beach, Calif./Golden West College) and Brandon Picone (Morgan Hill, Calif./West Valley Community College), three key starters from last season's squad. Milcovich and Castillo finished second and third on the team in goals scored, with 40 and 27, respectively.
On the replacement of those key seniors, O'Brien said: "We have an incoming junior college transfer from Golden West College (Marko Madaras) that we are very excited about. He was an MVP at the junior college level and should fit right in as a goal scorer for the Waves. Other than that it is everyone getting older and more experienced that will help to fill the voids of Milcovich, Castillo and Picone."
O'Brien is excited about the play of 6-foot-6 lefty Matt DeTrane (Moraga, Calif./Diablo Valley College), who will be back for his senior year with more confidence than ever. Centers Spencer Hamby (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) and James Perry (Orinda, Calif./Miramonte HS) will also be key for the Waves in their fourth seasons, as well sophomore-to-be Luke Hewko (Irvine, Calif./Servite HS), who got a lot of excellent experience as a freshman and has a promising future. Matt Brown (Bellevue, Wash./Brown Academy) will also be back for a fifth year and is a big, unstoppable player with the ball in his hand, who will see a lot more minutes this upcoming year.
"This year's squad is older and they know it is their turn," O'Brien explained. "It is their last hurrah and everything is out on the line for us starting now, not starting in the fall."
Additionally, Director of Athletics Steve Potts offered the following comments on the head coaching position:
"The process to select a new head coach for our water polo program is ongoing and I am excited about the future for this team. Gary O'Brien continues to do a great job as our interim head coach and I am thankful for his commitment.
I also want to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Jack Kocur for his service as head coach. Jack achieved much here as a player, assistant coach and head coach and we wish him great success in his future endeavors."