No. 4 Pacific Travels To MPSF Tournament As The No. 6 Seed
Nov. 24, 2010
Stockton, Calif. – Riding a two game winning streak in conference play, Pacific’s men’s water polo team remains as the No. 4-ranked team in the latest Collegiate Water Polo Association's national poll heading into this weekend's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament. This is the Tigers' second consecutive week at the No. 4 position after jumping two spots in the November 17 poll.
The Tigers closed out MPSF regular season action with a 15-10 win at Long Beach State on Saturday, November 20. In the contest the Tigers paced by junior Tom Koning (Poway, Calif.) who tallied five goals, while freshman Alex Malkis (Yoqneam, Israel) had eight saves in the cage. Also scoring goals for the Tigers were Lance Morrison (Fairfield, Calif.), Balazs Erdelyi (Eger, Hungary), Balazs Szabo (Budapest, Hungary), Goran Tomasevic (Split, Croatia), Joey Gullikson (Sonoma, Calif.), Tyler Reardon (Oak Park, Calif.) and Daniel Lungu (Netanya, Israel).
The month of November has been historic month for men’s water polo program. In the month Pacific has had two Tigers earn the MPSF Mikasa Player of the Week award while picking up three wins against conference opponents (UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, Long Beach State). Additionally the Tigers earned the program's first No. 4 national ranking in the CWPA poll since the poll began in 1995.
Pacific's first Player of the Week distinction came earlier in the month when Malkis earned the award on November 8, after tallying 26 saves, three steals and one assist in two games for the Tigers. Koning was then named Player of the Week on Monday, November 22 after he tallied a season high five goals in Pacific’s 15-10 win over Long Beach State. Koning currently has 43 goals in 24 games for the Tigers, for a 1.79 goals per game average. Additionally, Koning is eleventh in conference in scoring heading into the MPSF tournament.
On the national level, Pacific’s men’s water polo team has been featured in back-to-back editions of Trevor Freeman’s men’s water polo notebook on NCAA.com. On November 16, Freeman highlighted Pacific’s 10-9 upset over then No. 3 Stanford at Avery Aquatic Center on November 14. In the contest Gullikson paced the Tigers with five goals and for his performance he was named NCAA.com’s player of the week. The Tigers were again featured in the November 22 notebook when spoke Freeman spoke with head coach James Graham about the program's No. 4 national ranking, the team’s growth over the past three seasons and what it takes to win the MPSF tournament.
Links to both editions of Freeman’s weekly notebook are available below:
Pacific (16-9, 4-4 MPSF) enters this year’s tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face off against the No. 3 seed UCLA Bruins. In the last three meetings between the Bruins and the Tigers, UCLA narrowly defeated Pacific 10-7 (Sept. 18), 13-11 (Oct. 2) and 10-9 (Oct. 10). During the most recent meeting between the two, Pacific had trailed the Bruins 9-6 with 6:09 remaining in the fourth quarter and came within one of UCLA behind a goal from Koning and a pair of goals from Erdelyi. Despite battling the Bruins through three ties and four lead changes Pacific fell to UCLA 10-9 in the final minutes of regulation. This season Pacific has scored a total of 27 goals against the Bruins, nine of which have come from Erdelyi and five from Koning. Also tallying goals against UCLA this year were Tomasevic, Gullikson, Lungu, Morrison, Delong and Jason Wensley (Concord, Calif.). In the three contests, Malkis has a total of 18 saves in the cage for Pacific.
The Tigers take on No. 3 UCLA in the opening round of the MPSF tournament, hosted by Stanford, at 1:30 p.m on Friday, November 26.
More information on the 2010 MPSF tournament, including ticket prices, directions and the tournament schedule, is available on the tournament homepage.
CWPA Top-20 Poll
|Rank||Team||Nov. 17 Poll||Points|
|1||University of California||1||100|
|2||University of Southern California||2||95|
|3||University of California, Los Angeles||3||90|
|4||University of the Pacific||4||82|
|6||University of California, Irvine||6||77|
|7||University of California, Santa Barbara||7||71|
|8||Loyola Marymount University||8||65|
|10||Long Beach State University||9||56|
|11||University of California, davis||12||49|
|12||St. Francis College (N.Y.)||13||42|
|13||University of California, San Diego||11||40|
|14||Santa Clara University||14||39|
|15||United States Naval Academy||18||28|
|17||California Baptist University||16||21|
|19||United States Air Force Academy||RV||5|
|RV||Concordia University (Calif.)||19||2|
|RV||Johns Hopkins University||RV||1|