By Bill Bell
WESTWOOD, Calif., Sept. 30. IF General Maximo was suitably impressed with top-ranked Stanford's 10-5 men's water polo win over No. 2 USC yesterday at the McDonald's Swim Stadium, the wily old Roman would have been positively euphoric had he been at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center pool here this afternoon to witness the Cardinal's 10-6 thrashing of No. 3-ranked
Before an overflow crowd of more than 750 rabid fans that also included both schools' pep bands and the Stanford song girls, the Cardinal — led by superstar freshman Tony Azevado's pair of opening-quarter goals — put on an impressive display of tough defense and crisp passing to thwart the Bruins throughout the warm (90-plus degree) afternoon.
The Bruins are double-defending national collegiate champs and sported a 10-match winning streak dating back to last season. But any hopes they may have harbored of going undefeated — especially after having lost six seniors from last year's squad — tumbled beneath the Rec Center's waves as Stanford led at halftime, 5-2; expanded the margin to 9-5 early in the fourth quarter, and ended up dominating the match.
However, the match was a non-conference affair and thus had no bearing on Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, where both schools are still
unbeaten (Stanford 5-0, 3-0; UCLA, 4-1, 2-0).
Their conference matchup will occur in four weeks — Oct. 27 at Palo Alto — and the Bruins will see Stanford again in two weeks at Stockton (University
of the Pacific) at the NorCal Tournament.
UCLA was led by true freshman Brett Orsmby, a 6-2, 175-pound driver from El Cajon's Valhalla High. Orsmby tied Azevado for goal-scoring honors with three, including a pair in the final quarter as UCLA closed the margin to 9-5 on his "alley oop" shot over several outstretched Cardinal defenders with 5:30 remaining.
But then Stanford upped the margin to 10-5 less than a minute-and-a-half later before Orsmby connected on his final goal — a nice corner shot — with 3:24 left.
"They're the top team, and we didn't make the most of our opportunities early in the match," UCLA coach Adam Krikorian said. The Bruins were also hurt by the stellar defensive effort of Cardinal goalie Nick Ellis, a second-team All-America last season. Ellis had 12 saves, including at least a half-dozen from
point blank range. Also, several errant UCLA shots hit various parts of the goal cage before bouncing harmlessly back in the water.
With a sweep of USC and UCLA this weekend, Stanford will solidify its standing atop the Collegiate Water Polo Assiciation poll.
This is retiring Cardinal coach Dante Dettamenti's 25th year at the helm, and his weekend victories give him a career-record of 552 wins during his stay at Stanford. Overall he has 648 wins in 32 years of coaching, No. 2 all-time to now-retired U Cal Irvine's Ted Newland's 664.
These are the only two coaches in the 600-win "club" and it is not inconceivable that Dettamenti could become No. 1 by season's end — especially since the NCAA Finals are at Stanford the first weekend of
(The MPSF Champion gets an automatic entry into the NCAA Final Four.)
Stanford now holds a 59-52 all-time edge over UCLA, but Krikorian is 4-3 against the Cardinal during his three years as Bruin boss.
UCLA's 10-match winning streak was its longest since 1995-96, when the Bruins ran off 15-consecutive victories — two in the '95 NCAA Championship, then 13-straight to start the '96 season.
UCLA actually had a 14-match streak last season but three were later forfeited.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
UCLA 2 0 1 3 – 6
Stanford 3 2 3 2 – 10
UCLA: Brett Orsmby, 3; Ted Peck, Jeff Pflueger, Alfonso Tucay
Stanford: Tony Azevado, 3; Onno Koelman, 2; Todd Snider, Peter Hudnut,
Jeff Nesmith, Pasi Dutton.
UCLA: Brandon Brooks, 10 GA, 5 Saves.
Stanford: Nick Ellis, 6 GA, 12 Saves.
Attendance: 101,855 (in your dreams!)