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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Eight teams are on their way to the 2023 National Collegiate Men’s Water Polo Championship this weekend at the University of Southern California’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles, Calif.  The University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and Biola University will kickstart the weekend in game one, followed by Princeton University-vs.-the University of California-Irvine, the University of California-vs.-Fordham University and host USC versus San Jose State University.

About the Teams:

  • First seed University of California, Los Angeles is coming into the championship tournament with nine Bruins being awarded 2023 Delfina All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) West honors, a school record for the institution. Among these various honors included the Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and Coach of the Year Awards. Senior Rafael Real Vergara, from Sao Paulo Brazil was just honored with the MPSF Player of the Year Award because of his impressive regular season play. Also receiving an end of year award, freshman from Newport Beach, California, Ben Liechty was honored with the MPSF Newcomer of the Year recently. Leading the team, Adam Wright received the MPSF Coach of the Year Honor to round out the team’s clean sweep in end of year awards.
  • California is heading to the championship after strong regular season play as the number two seed. Four Golden Bears were recently named to the All-MPSF First Team, including Nikolaos Papanikolaou, Adrian Weinberg, Max Casabella, and Roberto Valera. This is senior Nikolaos Papanikolaou’s fifth time being named to the All-MPSF First Team. He has also been a Cutino award winner twice, and a finalist three times as well as being a two-time NCAA Championship MVP. Senior goalkeeper Adrien Weinberg joins Papanikolaou on the First Team list. Weinberg has also been a three-time ACWPC All-American and made All-MPSF selections four times. Junior Max Casabella has also been a two-time ACWPC All-America selection and recognized with All-NCAA Championship First Team honors. Fellow junior, Roberto Valera, is also a two-time ACWPC All-America and has garnered All-NCAA Championship Second Team honors.
  • Coming off a win against No. 1 seed UCLA, third seed host Southern California is ready for the 2023 Championship Tournament. Senior two-meter player Max Miller was just awarded the MPSF Men’s Water Polo Tournament MVP. Accompanying him on the 2023 MPSF All-Tournament team are his teammates Massimo Di Martire and Carson Kranz. Fellow Trojan, Massimo Di Martire, from Naples, Italy has also been named an All-American as he wraps up his second season at USC. Senior Carson Kranz joins his teammates on the All-Tournament team as he finishes his fourth season at USC.
  • Princeton is heading to the National Championship Tournament after winning the Northeast Water Polo Conference Tournament for the third straight time with four members receiving All-Tournament awards. Junior Roko Pozaric was named MVP of the tournament as well as Most valuable Player of the conference. Pozaric also received MVP and Rookie of the Year in his previous seasons at Princeton. Freshman goalkeeper Kristof Kovacs joined Pozaric on the First-Team All-Tournament list along with his All-NWPC Second Team honor. Logan McCarroll joined the two on the First-Team All-Tournament list with fellow Tigers’ athlete Yurian Quinones earning a Second-Team honor. Head Coach Dustin Litvak was also honored by being named the Coach of the Tournament.
  • After winning their first WWPA Championship Biola is headed to the National Championship tournament being led by WWPA Coach of the Year, Rick Nordell. Four Eagles received All-Tournament Team Selections, including senior Joshua Halopoff who received the MVP of the tournament. Accompanying Halopoff on the First-Team list are sophomore teammates Caleb Hernandez and Nick Murray. Freshman Roman Saroyan closed out the awards for Biola being named to the Second Team All-Tournament list.
  • Big West Champions, UC Irvine will kick off their National Championship weekend playing No. 4 seed Princeton. Coming off a championship, six anteaters earned All-Big West Honors. Sophomore Luka Krstic earned his spot on the All-Big West First Team by leading UC Irvine with 43 goals and 25 assists throughout the regular season. He is accompanied on the All-Big West Honors list by junior Tyler Padua and Johann Thrall with their All-Big West Second Team honors. Juniors Jacob Pyle and Jack Stevens were also honored by being named to the All-Big West Honorable Mention team. Gage Vedegaal and Johann Thrall were also named to the All-Big West Freshman Team.
  • Winners of the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference, Fordham, are set to match up against No. 2 seed California in their first game of the National Championship Tournament on December 1. Junior George Papanikolaou was named the MAWPC Most Valuable Player, accompanied by head coach Brian Bacharah who earned the Coach of the Year honor. Joining Papanikolaou on the First Team All-League list was Junior Luca Silvestri. Junior Jacopo Parrella was also recently honored by being named to the league’s Second Team list.
  • San Jose State is set to play third seed Southern California to close out the first day of the National Championship Tournament. Three Spartans were named to the West Coast Conference All-Conference teams recently leading to the championship weekend. Junior Bence Szabo received First-team accolades, while Freshman Mareja Bosic was named to the Second Team and freshman goalkeeper Bredon Gyapjas was named to the conference Honorable Mention list.

Release by Abigail Shelby

Collegiate Water Polo Association