University of the Pacific's men's water polo team has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in the program's history.
We're No. 1! Pacific men's water polo takes top spot in national rankings
University of the Pacific men's water polo for the first time in program history has been ranked No. 1 in the country, according to the Collegiate Water Polo Association poll.
"It's amazing," said head coach James Graham. "It feels great to be recognized, and I think it means a lot to our team, our program, our University and our community. It's a testament to all the hard work our student-athletes have put in toward being successful.
"At the same time, being ranked No. 1 doesn't change anything for this team," added Graham. "We have to prove ourselves every single game. Our goal all year has been to play our best water polo of the season in our next game, and that doesn't change now."
The No. 1 ranked Pacific men's water polo team clinched a pair of victories this weekend when they hit the road for Mountain Pacific Sports Federation games at No. 9 Pepperdine and No. 6 UC Santa Barbara.
The Nov. 6 poll marks the first time any Pacific program has been ranked No. 1 since the Tigers' women's volleyball program topped the polls on Sept. 27, 1999. Pacific volleyball has been ranked first 18 times in the history of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25, eighth-most among Division I programs.
The Tigers men's water polo No. 3 ranking had tied the program high mark, set in the 1993 season.
Pacific looked to avoid a letdown after their win over former No. 1 USC. Pacific controlled that game with a 10-6 win at Chris Kjeldsen Pool. Senior goalkeeper Alex Malkis made 16 saves and was named MPSF Player of the Week following the win, while junior Alex Obert paced the Tigers offensively with three goals.
|Goalie Alex Malkis was named MPSF player of the week for the 3rd time this season after holding USC to a season-low six goals on Nov. 2.|
Pacific faced a Pepperdine squad that was 9-9 overall and 1-3 in MPSF play. The Tigers have a win over the Waves in the NorCal Tournament, taking a 21-6 victory in the third round on the consolation side of the bracket as the Tigers placed fifth. Senior Goran Tomasevic and sophomore Kristian Laczkovics each posted four goals for Pacific. Pepperdine was ranked No. 10 at the time of the contest.
On Sunday, Pacific faced a No. 6 UC Santa Barbara squad, which has pushed the Tigers twice. Read game highlights.
After this weekend, the Tigers improved in MPSF action to 5-1 in conference, leaving USC and UCLA tied for the No. 1 spot and Stanford coming in at No. 4. Pacific has a win over Stanford in MPSF action, but their lone MPSF loss is to the Bruins. UCLA's MPSF loss is to Stanford. USC sits a half-game back at 2-1.
With UCLA and Stanford both yet to play the Trojans, the Tigers need a pair of victories to tighten their grip on the top spot in the conference and the number one seed at the MPSF Conference Tournament, which will be held at Pacific's Kjeldsen Pool Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
Here's another story about the ranking:
"Tigers are new No. 1: They take over as country's top-ranked team after upset of USC," The Record, Nov. 7, 2013
Don't miss the last home games and tournament:
Pacific vs. UC Irvine - Nov. 16 at noon
Pacific vs. Long Beach - Nov. 23 at noon
MPSF Tournament - Nov. 29 - Dec. 1 BUY TICKETS NOW!