Pepperdine Takes on No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 UC Santa Barbara in MPSF Road Battles
Oct. 24, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. — No. 8 Pepperdine men’s water polo completes its four-game road trip this week when it travels to crosstown rival UCLA Thursday and UC Santa Barbara for MPSF battles. The Waves are fresh off a successful Northern California trip where they swept UC Davis (19-9) and league foe No. 5 Pacific (9-6) in Stockton. Winners of four of its last five matches, Pepperdine has defeated two top-five opponents during the span.
GAME #16 — Thursday (Oct. 25) at Westwood, Calif.: #8 Pepperdine (10-6, 2-1 MPSF) vs. #2 UCLA (19-2, 2-0 MPSF) at 7:00 p.m.
GAME #17 — Saturday (Oct. 27) at Santa Barbara, Calif.: #8 Pepperdine vs. #3 UC Santa Barbara (15-5, 1-2 MPSF) at noon.
RANKINGS — Pepperdine is ranked No. 8 by the Collegiate Water Polo Association for the third straight week after spending the previous two weeks at No. 7.
UCLA — UCLA owns a 66-31-1 lead in the all-time series, including a 14-7 win at the 2012 SoCal Tournament. Pepperdine’s last win against the Bruins was a 9-5 home triumph in 2008.
UC SANTA BARBARA — The Waves own a 57-36 lead in the all-time series dating to 1975, but dropped a 8-4 decision to the Gauchos in the 2012 NorCal Tournament.
LAST WEEK — Pepperdine collected a big Northern California road sweep. The Waves opened with a 19-9 victory at UC Davis and then continued MPSF play by upending No. 5 Pacific in Stockton with a 9-6 triumph. It was the second top-five victory for the Waves in four matches. Marko Madaras (Eger, Hungary) and Stephen Loomis (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo HS) led the way for Pepperdine offensively with five goals apiece on the weekend. Bence Valics (Eger, Hungary) recorded 19 saves for the Waves with 12 against the Tigers.
WAVE NOTABLES — Senior ATK Stephen Loomis enters the third week of MPSF play as Pepperdine’s leading scorer with 34 goals, while fellow senior ATK Matthew DeTrane (Moraga, Calif./Diablo Valley CC) rates second with 29 goals to go along with 18 assists. Junior ATK Mike Tragitt (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) leads the Waves with 24 assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Bence Valics has played every minute in goal this season and has collected 189 saves. Valics ranks second among MPSF leaders in saves per game (11.81).
HOME POOL ADVANTAGE — In its first 37 years of existence, Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool has hosted many Pepperdine victories. The Waves entered this season 265-103 all-time at home, boasting a win percentage of .720. The Waves have posted a winning record at home in 30 of 37 seasons.
COACH MOSES — Two-time U.S. Olympian (2008, 2012) and former Pepperdine All-American Merrill Moses has recently joined the staff as an interim co-head coach this season. Moses led the United States to a gold medal at the 2007 and 2011 Pan American Games. Moses also led the Waves to the 1997 national championship where they captured their first title.
COACH RODRIGUEZ — William “Willo” Rodriguez is the other interim co-head coach along with Moses. Rodriguez was a two-year player for the Waves and also was an assistant coach in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.”Willo” is a former member of the Puerto Rican National Squad that competed at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2003.
COACH SCHROEDER — Water polo icon Terry Schroeder is a volunteer coach for the 2012 season. But he has much bigger plans in 2013, as Pepperdine has announced that Schroeder will return as the men’s water polo head coach next year. In his first stint with Pepperdine (1986-2005) he amassed 340 wins and a national championship in 1997. The head coach for USA Water Polo at the last two Olympics, Schroeder has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2005), U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame (1998) and the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame (1985).
PEPPERDINE WATER POLO HISTORY — Since 1990, only five different universities have won an NCAA water polo title: four football schools and Pepperdine. The Waves claimed their first NCAA title by beating USC in the final in 1997. Heading into 2012, the Waves had posted winning records in 28 of 37 seasons and had an all-time record of 682-426-8.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE — Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports — one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat — and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a BCS-affiliated conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.