Waves Host UCLA on Saturday
UPCOMING Â The No. 5 ranked Pepperdine men’s water polo team (18-6,5-2) completes its regular season competition with a home match against No. 2 UCLA on Saturday.
PEPPERDINE VS. UCLA (Nov. 22, 12 p.m.) at Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool Â The Bruins (15-5, 5-2) have won seven of their last eight games. Both teams have identical conference records and are tied for second place along with Stanford.
Krsto Sbutega is ranked third in MPSF and has scored 42 goals in 20 games for the Bruins.
SANTA BARBARA RECAP Â Andrew Milcovich led the Pepperdine men’s water polo team to a 10-9 victory over No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, Sunday afternoon, at the UCSB Campus Pool.
"We had a great week of practice and great start to the game," said Assistant Pepperdine Coach Gary O’Brien. "A few things didn’t go our way in the second-half, but we rallied in the end. It was a great MPSF win."
Pepperdine posted a strong first-half scoring seven goals to the Gaucho’s five. However, Santa Barbara came on strong in the second-half to tie the game with 2:26 left on the clock. Adam Hewko (Irvine, Calif./Servite HS) scored the game winning goal. The Santa Barbara pool is set up so each team plays half the game in a 5-ft. shallow end.
Milcovich (Walnut Creek, Calif./ De La Salle HS) scored three goals for the Waves, while Brett Auer (Newport Beach, Calif./ Newport Beach HS) and Grant Miller (La Verne, Calif./ La Verne HS) scored two each.
A CHANCE FOR CHILDREN MENTOR PROGRAM Â The Waves will host a group of 14 inner-city boys at the UCLA match this Saturday. Each boy will be assigned a Pepperdine athlete as their "mentor." The two groups will pair up for inner tube water polo following the UCLA contest. A picnic lunch will follow all the aquatic activities.
It is our hope that our team will form a mentorship with these boys and keep in contact throughout the year. It’s a tremendous opportunity to show that sports can be a positive influence and a means to continue an education.
MACDONELL NAMED MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK Â Junior J.P. MacDonell was selected as the MPSF Player of the Week for Nov. 10. Freshman John Hahn was selected as the MPSF Player of the Week for the last week in September. Hahn had 16 saves against California to help the Waves upset the Golden Bears 7-5.
PHOTO GALLERIES Â Galleries are up for the Cal- Claremont Matches NorCal Tournament, LMU Match, 2008 Chance for Children and the Triton Invitational. Go to the left hand side of the water polo web page to access the galleries.
PEPPERDINE IN THE POLLS Â The Waves are No. 5 in the national rankings this week, according to the latest NCAA Div. I polls.
MPSF RANKINGS Â Five Waves make the top 24 for goals scored in the MPSF individual statistics this week. J.P. MacDonell moved up to the No. 5 spot this week for goals scored (47) with a 1.96 game avg. An injured Grant Miller stayed at No. 7 with 41 goals and a 1.86 average. Adam Hewko moved up to the No. 9 spot with 39 goals and a1.63 average. The Waves are ranked No. 4 for team goals with 258 and No. 5 for team defense with 179 goals scored against them.
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.
INTERNATIONAL PLAYER Â Freshman John Hahn (Sydney, Australia) joins the Waves as another top contender for the starting goalkeeper position. Hahn has extensive experience with the Australian National Junior Team.
WAVES HOST MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS Â 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.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE Â Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men’s sports Â one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine’s teams are ranked nationally year after year and compete for conference and national titles.