San Jose, Calif. --- Opening the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in a play-in game, the San Jose State men’s water polo team faces the UC Irvine Anteaters on Friday, November 20, at Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles.
“Our expectations going into the weekend are to show improvement. We’ve improved all season and got better and better,” said San José State head coach Bruce Watson. “We would like to get a win and show the improvement.”
In their only matchup with the Anteaters during the regular season, the #10-seeded Spartans lost 11-3 after being held scoreless most of the first half. Scoring against #7-seeded UC Irvine were freshmen drivers Cade Baldridge and Zachary Scudder and sophomore 2-meter defender Igor Miljan.
Leading the Spartans with 243 saves during the season, sophomore goalkeeper Matej Matijevic made 18 saves against the Anteaters on November 7. Matijevic started 25 games for San José State with a season high 19 saves against Santa Clara in the season opener.
“I’m expecting a big performance out of Matej, when he gets motivated he can be a real difference maker for the team,” Watson said.
Miljan was San José State’s regular season scoring leader with 26 goals. Additional top scorers are freshman driver Justin Contreras with 22 goals, freshman utility man Alek Dendall with 21 and junior 2-meter defenders Scott Reynolds and Blake Grove with 17 each.
“The team is rested and excited,” Watson said. “They know playing UC Irvine is going to be difficult. This team hasn’t quit regardless of the score all season.”
In the first of two play-in matches, the Spartans begin action at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. All the MPSF tournament games will be streamed live at http://www.pac-12.com/live/usc up until the third-place and championship game, both game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
On Saturday, November 21, the Spartans will face either the #8-seeded Long Beach State 49ers or the #9-seeded Pepperdine Wave at 10:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
by Brian S. Stanley, SJSU athletics media relations student assistant