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Second Season of American Water Polo League to be Held This Weekend  -- June 4, 2003

Los Alamitos, CA, June 3, 2003—The American Water Polo League (AWPL) will open play on its second season this weekend (June 6-8) at the USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center in Los Alamitos (Calif.). The league, which will feature all the best male water polo talent in the country, will be conducted in a tournament structure with the champion being crowned on Sunday (June 8) afternoon.

The AWPL debuted with a bang last year, with competitions being held at three different Southern California venues. It is designed to be a showcase of elite water polo, where the country’s top players can fine tune their skills for international play. The league differs from the USA Water Polo Premier League in its age limitations for rosters and in its primary goal.

“The goal of the Premier League is to allow our high school and collegiate players to participate in high-level water polo as part of the National Team program,” said U.S. head coach and National Teams director Ratko Rudic. “But the American Water Polo League is designed to have the best water polo players, period. All of our National Team athletes will be spread out on the teams that will be here this weekend.”

The league also ties into the organization’s goal of getting in more games each year, a crucial step toward leveling the playing field with its European counterparts.

“It is absolutely necessary for us to play more high-level games every year,” said Rudic. “In this league, the players will face the best competition in the country.”

Rudic was adamant about the success of the league after its conclusion last season, saying that the final games were the truest example of international play that he has seen since taking over as coach in 2001.

“These games were physical and competitive like at the international level,” he said. “They were the best games that our players could have hoped for and I hope we see more of it this year.”

While last year’s field of four teams featured a collection of water polo all-stars and the U.S. National Team, this year’s field will be comprised of the top three finishing teams at the Premier League and one invited team.

The Los Angeles Water Polo Club, which took first place at the Premier League championships in its first year of competition back in May, will be joined by the New York Athletic Club (2nd) and the Newport Water Polo Foundation (3rd) as the automatic bids. Long Beach Shore will occupy the four-spot in the rankings.

The league is also slightly different from the Premier League by way of the rule book. With four eight-minute quarters, the ability to shoot on goal following a foul at or beyond six-meters, a move of the penalty line from four- to six-meters, and penalty shots awarded after six exclusions in any half, the game will feature more movement and, oftentimes, higher scores, making for a more high-paced, fan-friendly game.

Play will begin on Friday (June 6) with a pair of games beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s (June 7) will be split between two two-game sessions, one beginning at 11:00 a.m. and the other at 5:30 p.m. The third place game will be played on Sunday (June 8) at 10:30 a.m., with the championship following that at 12:00 p.m.

Friday, June 6
7:30 p.m.
New York Athletic Club
vs
Newport Water Polo Foundation

9:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Water Polo Club
vs
Long Beach Shore

Saturday, June 7
11:00 a.m.
New York Athletic Club
vs
Long Beach Shore

12:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Water Polo Club
vs
Newport Water Polo Foundation

BREAK

5:30 p.m.
Newport Water Polo Foundation
vs
Long Beach Shore


7:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Water Polo Club
vs
New York Athletic Club

Sunday, June 8 10:30 a.m. 3rd Place Game

12:00 p.m. Championship