Jovan Vavic, coach of USC’s water polo team, talked about preparing to play UCLA tomorrow in his postgame press conference Saturday afternoon.
At that time, UCLA was still half an hour from starting its game against St. Francis Brooklyn.
Vavic was correct in assuming that No. 2 UCLA (28-4) would make good on a 43-year long trend of only California teams playing in the NCAA men’s water polo championship game, as the Bruins promptly came out and cruised to a 17-3 victory over the No. 3 seeded Terriers.
Senior attacker Griffin White led all scorers with four goals in the gloomy afternoon matchup, followed by junior attacker Paul Pickell, who netted three goals.
UCLA had a difficult time pulling away from St. Francis early, playing to a 2-1 lead after one quarter.
The next three quarters were a different story. The Terrier defense unraveled, allowing UCLA to shoot its way to a 15-2 advantage to close out the game, something St. Francis equated to a mental letdown.
“I think they were too respectful to UCLA for no reason,” St. Francis coach Igor Samardzija said. “I said to them at halftime, “˜These guys are not aliens. They’re not monsters. Just go out there and play them.’”
The Bruins will face the undefeated, four-time defending National Champion Trojans (28-0) tomorrow at 3:12 p.m. for the title. It will be the third time the two teams have played in the national championship game in the last four years, with USC earning a victory in each meeting.
“I hope it’s pouring, I hope it’s crazy,” coach Adam Wright said. “Whatever the conditions are ““ sunny, dark or whatever it is ““ we’ve got to be ready to go.”
Compiled by Andrew Erickson, Bruin Sports senior staff