UCLA men’s water polo wins national championship

UCLA players and coaches celebrate their win against USC in the NCAA Championship final match at Uytengsu Aquatics Center at USC in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 3, 2017. (Photo by Axel Koester/Contributing Photographer)

Alex Wolf wanted to add one last exclamation point.

With two seconds left, the UCLA goalie launched a full-tank shot into USC’s open cage to seal the Bruins’ 7-5 national-championship-winning effort on Sunday at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

The top-seeded Bruins won their third national championship in four years while the Trojans were forced to settle for their fourth straight runner-up trophy.

The win pulled UCLA back into a tie for the national lead in NCAA titles with Stanford. The Cardinal took over the top spot Sunday morning by knocking off UCLA in the women’s soccer championship match.

UCLA didn’t take its first lead until Alex Roelse scored on a power play with 44 seconds left in the third quarter. The Trojans evened the score early in the fourth quarter, but Matt Farmer scored the eventual game-winner on the very next possession.

More on how UCLA got its 114th national championship.


UCLA, USC to meet in men’s water polo championship

UCLA’s Nicolas Saveljic (21), right, tries to shoot over Pacific’s Luke Pavillard (5) during NCAA Championship semifinal match at Uytengsu Aquatics Center in USC Campus in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 2, 2017. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

The national stage didn’t faze Nicolas Saveljic. He’s already competed at the international level.

The freshman Montenegro national team member scored a hat trick in UCLA’s 11-9 win over Pacific in the NCAA tournament semifinals on Saturday, sending the Bruins to Sunday’s championship match where they will face rival USC.

Saveljic said after the game he was surprised by the sold-out crowd that Uytengsu Aquatics Center. It only added to the magnitude of the game.

“I’m always nervous before big games,” he said. “But that’s why we play.”

USC survived a tight match against Cal to win 12-11. The crosstown rivals play for the national championship on Sunday at 3 p.m. A live stream is available on NCAA.com.

More from Saturday’s semifinal games. 

UCLA weekend recap: Men’s, women’s basketball rise in polls

UCLA men’s basketball notched a signature win over then-No. 1 Kentucky and rose nine spots to No. 2 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ Polls. The Bruins are ranked in the top 2 for the first time since Nov. 26, 2007.

In other news around UCLA athletics:

  • Women’s basketball continued its home winning streak with a 72-49 win over Hawai’i on Sunday. The Bruins (6-1) have won 17th in a row at Pauley Pavilion and moved up one spot to No. 9 in the AP Poll on Monday.
  • Women’s volleyball advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 first-round win over Murray State (21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-9) and a 3-0 sweep over Baylor (25-21, 25-20, 25-20). The 10th-seeded Bruins face No. 7 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Friday.
  • Men’s water polo lost in the NCAA semifinals, falling 9-8 to Cal in overtime. It was UCLA’s third loss in the final four games of the season after the Bruins set an NCAA record with 57 straight wins. Cal beat No. 1 USC in in overtime for the national championship.

Men’s water polo prepares for NCAA seminfinal

Patrick Fellner leads the No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team in scoring as the Bruins chase a third-straight NCAA title. (Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)

Patrick Fellner leads the No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo team in scoring as the Bruins chase a third-straight NCAA title. (Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)

An NCAA-record 57-game winning streak won’t mean much for the UCLA men’s water polo team unless the Bruins can cap the year with their third-straight national championship.

No. 2 UCLA starts its NCAA run Saturday against Cal in the NCAA semifinals. The Bruins had an NCAA-record winning streak this year, but it was snapped by USC about three weeks ago. The Trojans then handed the Bruins two losses in as many weeks.

Despite losing two of its past three games heading into this weekend, UCLA is refocused for a chance at a three-peat.

You can watch UCLA’s semifinal match, which is scheduled for Saturday 5:12 p.m. PT at Cal, online here.

Men’s water polo sets NCAA record

The men’s water polo team set an NCAA record on Sunday with its 52nd consecutive victory. The Bruins beat No. 11 UC Davis to claim the record.

Head coach Adam Wright also notched his 200th career victory and his .870 winning percentage leads the nation in active coaches.