Dec. 3, 2011
BERKELEY - It will be an All-Los Angeles final as both top seed USC and No. 2 seed UCLA had dominating performances during the first day (Saturday, Dec. 3) of the 2011 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship, hosted by the University of California at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
In the 1 p.m. semifinal contest, USC (23-3) defeated Princeton (21-10), 17-4, behind four goals apiece from senior Peter Kurzeka and sophomore Nikola Vavic. The Trojans, winners of three straight national titles, took control of the match early, outscoring the Tigers, 4-1 in the opening period and led 10-2 at the half. Freshman Thomas Nelson led Princeton with three of his team's four goals.
In the second semifinal, UCLA (24-4) broke open a tight 1-0 first quarter lead to power past UC San Diego (17-10), 10-1. The Bruins, winners of the 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, were led by senior Cullen Hennessy's three goals, and two goals apiece from juniors Griffin White and Bret Lathrop. The Tritons lone goal came from freshman Matt Michalko with 4:50 left in the second period. UCLA had won the conference tournament, hosted at its own Spieker Aquatics Center, with a 10-9 in sudden-death victory over USC in the title game to earn the MPSF's automatic berth into the NCAAs.
Now the Bruins and the Trojans will play for the NCAA championship on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3:12 p.m. In the consolation match, Princeton battles UC San Diego at 1 p.m. All four national championship matches will be streamed live on www.NCAA.com.
For a copy of the 2011 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship bracket click NCAA Men's Water Polo.
Cal had hosted the 2010 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship as well.