Adam Wright emphasized one word at practice this week: energy. “Energy dictates a lot for us,” the coach said. “We’ve had teams in the past where we could have good focus, but energy wasn’t there. It seems for this team, energy and focus go hand in hand.” No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo (15-0) will take on No. 17 San Jose State (4-4) in its last nonconference match of the season. Following the match, the Bruins will play an exhibition game against Golden West (11-1). UCLA has faced San Jose State each of the past three years, outscoring the Spartans 34-9. San Jose State has lost to both No. 4 California (12-1) and No. 3 Stanford (8-0) by scores of 22-1 and 16-3, respectively. For a team in which all six starters are underclassmen, Wright said the importance of consistency in the matches to prepare for upcoming Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference matches which are for determining postseason seeding. “Our big thing is ‘Can we do it from the first minute of practice to the last minute?’ because that’s been our issue in a game,” Wright said. “We’re trying to create those scenarios here (in practice), but also outside the pool to talk about them, to see why we’re falling into those traps.” Senior attacker Austin Rone – a co-captain – noted that the Bruins have weathered tough games which have left them a little low. After playing 15 games, nine of which have been away, the team has been focusing on extra conditioning to stay in shape. “Our season five we have a lot of new pieces. We have a lot of young guys playing big minutes,” Rone said. “It’s definitely been a learning process, but as we had in the second half of the season (last year) we’re hoping to pick it up a lot more.” Starting freshman attacker Matthew Kacura has scored in seven of 15 games and said the year has been a learning experience. “I’m just learning my teammates and how they play,” Kacura said. “Our system and how we move and where to pass from the right position.” San Jose State will be UCLA’s last opportunity to improve before the MPSF Invitational, which will be held at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center. “Our goal is to be successful in every game and we don’t have many opportunities left to get better as a team,” Wright said. “Now we’ve played over half our games so we really have to take advantage of every opportunity.” The Bruins are undefeated at almost midway through the season, but they still see room for improvement. “Every chance we get in (the pool) is an opportunity to get better,” Rone said. “We have a lot of young guys so we want to get them as many reps playing top water polo as we can.”
Undefeated men’s water polo hopes to wave past San Jose State
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