Coach Adam Wright watches his team during a game. Wright has collected four national championships as head coach of the men’s team and has made one national championship appearance since taking over the women’s team ahead of the 2018 season. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)
For nearly the entire history of NCAA water polo, a quartet of schools has established themselves above the rest.
Four teams have long stood as bastions of talent and barriers to winning a national championship in the sport.
In their first postseason tournament, the Bruins suffered back-to-back losses for the first time all year.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to play out the conference tournament,” coach Adam Wright said.
The Bruins are set to begin their quest for a second championship in three seasons.
No. 3 UCLA men’s water polo (22-4, 2-1 MPSF) will open its NCAA tournament run Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, marking its 37th all-time appearance in the end-of-season bracket.
The Bruins opened their postseason with a season-high 25 goals in a dominant 24-point win.
But in their next two games, they scored a combined 17 goals in back-to-back losses, including a season-low six points Sunday.
After a double overtime comeback win against USC, the Bruins are set to start their postseason at the home of their rivals.
No. 3 seed UCLA men’s water polo (21-2, 2-1 MPSF) will face No.
Down three goals with 1:19 remaining on the clock, the Bruins’ fate appeared to be sealed.
Then redshirt sophomore attacker Gianpiero Di Martire dented the twine on three consecutive possessions in the final 1:05 of the game to force overtime.
Over 6,000 miles away from home, two brothers are learning how to adapt to life in a new country – together.
Originally hailing from Naples, Italy, Gianpiero and Massimo Di Martire each pursued different educational pathways after high school but eventually landed on American collegiate water polo teams.
The Bruins are on the verge of postseason play, but they must first get past their crosstown rivals.
No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo (20-2, 1-1 MPSF) plays its final game of the regular season Friday, hosting No.
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