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UCLA men’s water polo set to face the Beach and the Anteaters after winning streak

Senior goalkeeper Bernardo Maurizi prepares to throw the ball. Maurizi picked up 10 saves in UCLA’s victory over USC on Sunday. (Kyle Kotanchek/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Men's Water Polo

No. 7 Long Beach State
Friday, 7 p.m.

Spieker Aquatics Center
No TV info
No. 12 UC Irvine
Saturday, 2 p.m.

Anteater Aquatics Center
UC Irvine Athletics YouTube

By Cole Lizar

Sept. 8, 2022 3:20 p.m.

After an undefeated performance at the Triton Invitational, the Bruins will have a chance to grow their winning streak.

No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo (4-0) will play No. 7 Long Beach State (3-1) on Friday at Spieker Aquatics Center and No. 12 UC Irvine (2-2) on Saturday at the Anteater Aquatics Complex.

In the Bruins’ first four games of the season, it was the team’s newcomers that helped lead the way on offense, as freshman attacker Noah Rowe found the back of the net on six different occasions while freshman utility Gray Carson was also able to dent the twine twice.

Graduate student attacker/utility Jake Cavano said the freshmen were impressive in the first few games of the season.

“All of our younger players have been stepping up in a big way,” Cavano said. “I tell them … the best way to learn is to play without being afraid to make mistakes, then when you do make mistakes, you can learn from them.”

On Friday, the Bruins will face the Beach for their first home game of the season. This matchup represents the 126th meeting between the two schools all-time, with the blue and gold winning 103 of the matchups.

Coach Adam Wright said the team strives to improve as the season continues.

“At the end of the day, in every game we want to give ourselves a chance to be in a position to win,” Wright said. “Our goal is to build on our progress from week to week and to be playing at our best at the end of the year. It’s a long process but we have a good opportunity to get better and grow as individuals this season.”

UCLA will have the opportunity to continue to build on its progress from the opening weekend with games on back-to-back days. The Bruins will open their weekend playing at Spieker Aquatics Center for the first time since their 15-13 overtime loss to California in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last year.

Senior goalkeeper Bernardo Maurizi said the blue and gold strive to treat every game the same regardless of opponent.

“It doesn’t matter if we are playing the first-ranked or the 20th-ranked team in the country, we treat every game the same,” Maurizi said. “That mentality is different than any other team’s because on certain weeks they don’t train as hard because they know that they have an easy win that week.”

Maurizi added that the new additions to the team this year are exciting, and he looks forward to watching the team continue to grow on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s definitely a different team (this year),” Maurizi said. “I’m happy for the new team that we have now. … I lost a lot of friends from the team last year, but it’s a new year and I’m really happy with how the new freshmen are playing at the beginning of the season.”

The Bruins won their last matchups against both the Beach and the Anteaters, with the former entering the weekend on the heels of a six-point win over the latter.

With a new weekend of games approaching, Wright said the program has the opportunity to continue to grow by fully embracing the concept of teamwork.

“We as a program are not going to rely on any individual,” Wright said. “We’re only as good as every person in our program. … When everybody takes ownership of who they want to be, we have the opportunity to grow into the program that we can ultimately become. When a team gets to that space, it’s a really special thing.”

Opening sprint against Long Beach State is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Center. The Bruins will then face off against the Anteaters on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Anteater Aquatics Complex.

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Cole Lizar | Sports contributor
Lizar is currently a Sports contributor on the women's water polo beat. He was previously a contributor on the men's water polo beat.
Lizar is currently a Sports contributor on the women's water polo beat. He was previously a contributor on the men's water polo beat.
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