Waves Open the Season in San Diego
UPCOMING Â The No. 7 ranked Pepperdine men’s water polo team opens its 2008 season at the San Diego Triton Invitational this weekend (Sep. 6-7).
GAME #1 Â PEPPERDINE VS. POMONA-PITZER Â Saturday, 9 a.m. ÂThe Waves meet Div. III, No. 1 ranked Pomona-Pitzer, at the CV West Pool, in La Jolla, Calif. Last season, the Waves defeated Pomona-Pitzer 17-2, at the Claremont Convergence. Pomona captured the 2007 SCIAC Championship.
GAME #2 Â PEPPERDINE VS. UC DAVIS Â Saturday, 3 p.m. ÂThe Waves take on No. 11 UC Davis at the CV West Pool. Pepperdine defeated UC Davis twice last season 13-6 and 13-5. The Aggies lost five of their starters from last season including All-Americans goalkeeper Mike McGee and driver Nick Arrigo. However, their second highest scorer Adam Bennett (30 goals) returns along with Grant Muenter (28 goals).
GAME #3 Â Sunday Â To be determined by the outcome of game #2.
GAME #4 Â Sunday ÂTo be determined by the outcome of game #3.
PEPPERDINE IN THE POLLS Â The Waves begin the 2008 season ranked No. 7 nationally, according to NCAA Div. I pre-season polls.
COACH KOCUR Â Coach Jack Kocur is in his third year as head coach. Kocur took over the position from Terry Schroeder when he took a leave of absence to serve as the assistant coach for the U.S. National Team in 2006. Kocur was a member of the Waves 1997 national championship team, earning first All-American honors as a senior. Kocur spent four seasons as an assistant under Schroeder.
COACH O’BRIEN Â Coach Gary O’Brien begins his first season as assistant coach. O’Brien played for UCLA and then went on to play semi-professionally in Australia. He has eight years of coaching experience at the high school, community college, university and club level.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY Â In its 33 seasons, the Pepperdine water polo program has posted an overall record of 622-375-8, including a 151-104 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record. The Waves have posted 14 20+ win seasons and advanced to the NCAA Championships 12 times, claiming the program’s lone national title in 1997.
SENSATIONAL SENIORS Â Pepperdine’s five seniors are expected to be the core of the 2008 team. Four of the five redshirted their junior season in order to be a part of this season’s team: attacker and 2007 All-American Adam Hewko (Irvine, Calif./Servite, HS), centerback Matt Digges (Coronado, Calif./Coronado HS), centerback and two-time All-American Grant Miller (La Verne, Calif./La Verne HS) and utility Matt MacDonell (Redwood City, Calif./Bellarmine Prep.) . Jack Curley (Sonoma, Calif./Santa Rosa CC) is expected to be a top contender for the starting goalkeeper position.
AMAZING COMEBACK Â Adam Hewko returns after taking spring semester off to train with the USA National Team. Hewko underwent shoulder surgery in January and suffered a life-threatening complication which kept him out of training for several months. The Waves top scorer (59 goals for the 2007 season) made it to the final cuts for the USA Olympic Water Polo Team despite his late start. Hewko is fully recovered and should be a major scoring force for the Waves this season. Hewko was ranked No. 30 nationally last season for goals scored.
OUTSTANDING JUNIORS Â Attacker J.P. MacDonell (Redwood City, Calif./Bellarmine Prep.) was the second highest scorer for the Waves last season with 58 goals and finished the season ranked No. 35 nationally for goals. Macdonell is a two-time All-MPSF honorable mention selection. Center Clayton Snyder (Seal Beach, Calif./ Los Alamitos, HS) returns as one of the top ranked scorers in the MPSF finishing the season with 42 goals.
UP AND COMING SOPHOMORES Â Attackers Andrew Milcovich (Walnut Creek, Calif./Bellarmine HS) and Taylor Watson (Alamo, Calif./Monte Vista HS) are expected to be major contributors to the Waves offense this season.
FRESHMEN INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS Â Freshman John Hahn (Sydney, Australia/Macquarie University) joins the Waves as another top contender for the starting goalkeeper position. Hahn has extensive experience with the Australian National Junior Team. Freshman attacker Milos Purkovic (Serbia) is the other international player on the Pepperdine roster this season.
WAVES HOST SOCAL AND MPSF TOURNAMENTS Â On October 6-7, the Pepperdine men’s water polo team will host the SoCal Tournament in conjunction with Loyola Marymount. The tournament will feature the top teams in the nation including No. 1 ranked California, No. 2 USC, No. 3 Stanford and No 4 UCLA.
The Malibu campus will be the setting for the 2008 MPSF Championships on November 27-30. Once again, the top teams in the nation Â California, USC, Stanford and UCLA with the addition of UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Pacific Â meet to determine the 2008 MPSF champion.