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'Eaters ahead of curve

UC Irvine Anteaters, with seven seniors, aren't far away from challenging the perennial top four.

September 06, 2010|By Barry Faulkner,

The presence of Kruip, who earned third-team All-American recognition last season, will take some pressure off Brandon Johnson, Hunt said.

Hunt thought Kruip had exhausted his eligibility last season, but the UCI compliance office discovered that since he competed only in swimming as a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a fourth water polo season was in the cards for the 6-foot-5, 205-pound utility man.

"It's better than any recruit I could possibly bring in," Hunt said of Kruip's return.

Kyle Kruip, a 6-5, 215-pound senior center, also returns after producing 25 goals last season, sixth-best on the team. The Kruips are also twins.


Doug Lindsey, a 6-0, 185-pound senior driver, has more velocity on his shot than any of the Anteaters, Hunt said, while senior Griffin Lerman (6-3, 215) has shown he's ready to assert himself at two meters, after producing 14 goals in reserve duty last season.

"His offensive game has really come together in the off-season," Hunt said of Lerman, another co-captain. "He's a real strong offensive player and the backbone of our defense."

Senior driver Kyle Baxter and junior utility man Max Parrague are additional weapons, while sophomore transfer Winston Newland and redshirt freshman Mitch Wise have impressed Hunt with their potential.

The Anteaters, picked to finish fifth in the MPSF, open conference play Oct. 9 at Pepperdine.

After the UCI invitational, UCI now has only six regular-season home games.

"We'd better be good on the road," Hunt said.

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