March 6, 2000
This Week: The third-ranked UCLA women's water polo team (14-2 overall, 3-0 MPSF) will face their foe, defending national champion No. 4 USC (12-4, 5-1) on Thursday, March 9 at 5 pm at McDonald's Swim Stadium on the USC campus.
UCLA vs. USC: After having lost all six of their matches to the Trojans last season, the Bruins have come back in 2000 with a vengeance. UCLA has already defeated rival USC twice this season and is looking to sweep regular-season play against the Trojans when the teams meet this Thursday. The teams first met at the UC San Diego Tournament on February 13 when the Bruins routed then-top-ranked USC 10-3 to advance to the final and eventually capture first place. In their second meeting this season, UCLA defeated USC 15-12 to capture third place at the UC Santa Barbara Tournament on February 27. All-time, UCLA is 12-6 against USC.
The defending national champion Trojans are currently 12-4 on the season, with losses coming at the hands of UCLA, Stanford and Cal. USC boasts one of the most talented offensive units in the nation. They return their top nine scorers from the '99 season and are led by first team All-American Aniko Pelle, who last year averaged a school-record 8.6 goals per game. The Trojans' major loss comes at the goalie position, where they are without National Player of the Year Bernice Orwig, who completed eligibility in '99. Last season, USC owned a 30-2 overall record and captured the national title after an exhausting 7-6 five-overtime, sudden death victory over Stanford in the final.
Last Week: The Bruins went 3-0 last week, recording wins against Long Beach
State, San Diego State and UC San Diego.
This past Friday, Long Beach State dropped an 11-5 decision to No. 3 UCLA in an MPSF matchup at the LBSU campus pool. UCLA took the lead early in the first half, allowing just one goal in the first quarter, for a 6-1 halftime lead. In the second half, the 49ers stepped up the pace, registering four goals to UCLA's five, but were unable to overcome their earlier deficit. Kelly Heuchan and Erin Golaboski led the Bruins with three goals each.
On Saturday, March 4, UCLA avoided an upset when they defeated San Diego State 8-6 in an MPSF matchup. The Bruins jumped ahead early by scoring two goals in the first two minutes of the game, but the Aztecs came back to tie up the score at 4-4 in the third quarter. SDSU had a chance at pulling out the upset after a goal in the fourth quarter put the Aztecs ahead by one, but UCLA retaliated with three goals in the final 3:30. Eight players scored one goal apiece for the Bruins.
Only hours after their game against San Diego State, the Bruins topped UC San Diego, 13-6, in La Jolla. Playing the Bruins for the third time this season after losing 16-4 and 16-3 in the previous contests, the Tritons were hoping for a more competitive outing this time. However, a 5-2 UCLA lead in the first quarter, followed by a 5-0 shutout in the second quarter, gave the Bruins a comfortable lead. In the second half, the Tritons outscored UCLA, 3-2 in the third period and tied, 1-1 in the final stanza. Freshman Jessica Lopez led the UCLA scoring attack with three goals.
UCLA in the Polls: UCLA is ranked No. 3 in the latest edition of the U.S. Water Polo Poll, which was released March 1.