The San José State men's water polo team returns home for a double header against the Connecticut College Camels and the defending national champions UCLA Bruins on Sunday, October 18, at the Aquatic Center.
"Hopefully the team will get fired up and play well in front of the home fans," said Head Coach Bruce Watson. "We'll have a nice crowd."
Continuing in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action, the Spartans (2-16, 0-2 MPFS) kick off a week long home stand against No. 1-ranked UCLA (17-0, 1-0 MPSF) at 2:00 p.m. The Bruins have a 20 games winning streak dating back to last season.
"We're facing the top team in the country, which will be a challenge, and then we will have a good competitive game against Connecticut College," Watson said. "It will show us where we are as a team."
In a non-conference matchup, San José State will face the winless Connecticut College (0-8, 0-5 CWPA) at 5 p.m. The Camels are on a nine game skid including last season's finale loss to MIT.
"The young guys are getting better but unfortunately we have a few guys out with injuries. The team continues play hard," Watson said.
Utility player Alek Dendall has helped fill the gap left in the Spartans' defense as a result of recent injuries. Dendall has nine goals this season and led the San Jose State with a season high three goals against Santa Clara on September 20.
"Dendall played really well last weekend and will continue to do so," Watson said. "He hustles and has good speed. He's learning to play defense and counter attacking hard for us. He needs to look for shot opportunities and score more."
Coach Watson is also looking for more goals from 2-meter defenders Igor Miljan and Scott Reynolds, both with 15 goals this season, along with Blake Grove.
"They have played with a lot of heart and haven't quit," Watson said. "We may be young and not as experienced as the number one team but we haven't backed down regardless of the score."
The four Spartans sitting out with injuries are freshmen Cade Baldridge, Justin Contreras, Zachary Scudder and Rion Parenteau.
Leading San José State with 19 goals, Contreras is currently day-to-day with concussion symptoms after take a hit to the head against Concordia at the SoCal Invitational. "Hopefully he will be cleared to compete on Monday," Watson said.
Baldridge has been playing with a broken knuckle for the last month and will be out of action for a week to allow the injury to heal. Scudder pulled a tendon from his thumb in the Spartans' first match at the SoCal tournament against USC and is out for four to six weeks.
Parenteau is out for the remainder of the season with a broken bone in his wrist.
The Spartans home stand continues Thursday, October 22 versus the Pacific Tigers.
by Brian S. Stanley, SJSU athletics media relations student assistant