UCLA men’s water polo: spreading the pool
Daily Bruin Sports breaks down the success of the UCLA men’s water polo players by different areas in the water ahead of the 2016 NCAA men’s water polo championship, where UCLA hopes to capture a third straight national title.
UCLA hasn’t recorded nearly as many shots within 5 meters as they have outside the foul line, so improving their shot percentage from outside 5 meters will be key for a third straight title run this weekend.
The Bruins’ leading scorer, senior attacker Patrick Fellner, is most dangerous from close on the left side of the cage. He’s got one of the strongest shots in the pool, one goalies can’t react to fast enough when he’s up close.
Redshirt senior goalie Garrett Danner is one of the best in the business. He’s showed up big time in the past two national championship tournaments, and this year he’s a brick wall in nearly all corners of the cage.
UCLA’s “system” may be a closely-guarded secret, but the shots on cage still have to come from somewhere. Since the Mountain Pacific Invitational in September, the Daily Bruin has been taking note of just who shoots, and from where, for every single game save the Sunday, Oct. 9 game against UC Davis.
Below is the shot spread, broken up by zone and excluding 5-meter penalty shots, for every player and for the team overall. Zones are considered “hot,” and colored red, depending on the strength of the team or players’ shooting percentage there. Similarly, “cold” zones, colored blue, represent areas of the pool where the team or players do not have as good a shot percentage. In the time frame we considered, since the September tournament and excluding the UC Davis game, the data is 85% accurate.
Additionally, the goals against UCLA have to seep in somewhere, though redshirt senior goalie Garrett Danner is strong in nearly every zone. “Hot” zones where he and junior goalie Aleksandar Ruzic are blocking well are colored red, and “cold” zones where they aren’t are colored blue. For Danner’s save spread, the data is 83% accurate.
- Statistics were collected from watching every game after the first round of the Mountain Pacific Invitational against Pomona-Pitzer, ending with the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship game against USC.