Jan. 26, 2011
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA women's water polo team takes on Long Beach State on Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Bruins' Spieker Aquatics Center. UCLA (4-0) won each of its four games at the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich., last weekend. Saturday's match is the first game of the year for Long Beach State.
UCLA's UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Saturday, Jan. 29 - 1 p.m.
Long Beach State (0-0) at No. 4 UCLA (4-0)
ON DECK: Stanford Invitational
Feb. 5-6 at Stanford University (two games each day)
ON DECK: Triton Invitational
Feb. 12-13 at UC San Diego (two games each day)
WEEKEND IN REVIEW
UCLA won its four games at the Michigan Invitational last weekend by a combined 49-19 margin. After defeating Colorado State, 15-6, on Saturday morning, the Bruins downed Hartwick, 17-3. Playing before a televised audience (Big Ten Network) at Michigan on Sunday morning, UCLA earned a 6-5 victory against the Wolverines. The Bruins ended their weekend by beating Cal State Northridge, 11-5. Junior KK Clark led UCLA with nine goals, and seniors Priscilla Orozco and Grace Reynolds each added six goals.
After this weekend's non-conference match against Long Beach State, UCLA will spend the following two weekends playing at tournaments. The Bruins will head north to play four games in two days at the Stanford Invitational in one week (Feb. 5-6). One year ago, UCLA finished third at the Stanford Invitational, earning victories over Hawai'i and Arizona State. After the Stanford Invitational, UCLA will play in the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego (Feb. 12-13).
2011 AT A GLANCE
UCLA's 2011 roster features eight seniors, just one year after not having had any seniors. The Bruins' supporting cast features six juniors, nine sophomores and four freshmen. UCLA's schedule features four in-season tournaments - last weekend's Michigan Invitational, Stanford Invitational, Triton Invitational and UC Irvine Invitational - over the first six weekends. UCLA opens MPSF play at home against Hawai'i on Feb. 24 after a non-conference home match versus UC Irvine on Feb. 19.
Senior Grace Reynolds emerged as UCLA's leading scorer in 2010, recording 43 goals in 27 matches. Last weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., she scored six goals in four games. One year ago, she earned second-team All-MPSF acclaim and second-team ACWPC All-America honors. A two-year standout at California (2007-08), Reynolds sat out the 2009 season due to NCAA transfer rules. At California, she led the Golden Bears in scoring each year (52 goals in 2008, 43 goals in 2007).
Senior Priscilla Orozco has scored 113 career goals in 94 matches after having tallied six goals at the Michigan Invitational last weekend. Last spring, she finished second on the team with 40 goals and first with 27 steals. She was the Bruins' lone first-team ACWPC All-America honoree and first-team All-MPSF selection. As a freshman (2008) and sophomore (2009), she helped guide the Bruins to consecutive NCAA Championships. Priscilla has played with her sister Sarah, a junior attacker at UCLA, the last two years.
Seniors Megan Burmeister and Kelly Easterday have become two standout defenders for UCLA over the last three seasons. Easterday was an honorable mention All-MPSF Team selection in 2010 and has secured ACWPC All-Academic "excellent" accolades in each of her three seasons in Westwood. She recorded 23 goals and 27 earned exclusions last season. Burmeister tallied 16 goals and 20 steals as a junior in 2010 before earning ACWPC All-Academic "excellent" honors for the first time in her career. Both Burmeister and Easterday played signifcant roles on UCLA's 2008 and 2009 NCAA Championship teams.
UCLA's class of six juniors is headlined by KK Clark and Sarah Orozco, two players that have made significant contributions the last two years. Clark led UCLA with nine goals in four matches last weekend. In 2010, she captured honorable mention All-MPSF acclaim and secured ACWPC All-Academic "excellent" honors. Sarah Orozco showed her versatility last season, playing at two-meters and as a driver. She scored 21 goals in 30 matches in 2010 and scored in each of UCLA's first three games last weekend.
IN THE CAGE
Junior goalkeeper Caitlin Dement and freshman goalkeeper Sami Hill each made two starts for UCLA at the Michigan Invitational last weekend. Dement, who established UCLA's single-season saves record in 2010 (264 stops in 29 matches), registered 31 saves in eight quarters at the Michigan Invitational. Dement enters this weekend with a 4.00 goals against average. Hill tallied a team-leading 18 saves in two games at the Michigan Invitational. She posted a team-high 12 saves in UCLA's 11-5 win over Cal State Northridge. Hill served as a two-time Junior Olympics MVP with the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club while in high school.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Wednesday, Jan. 26, UCLA has been ranked No. 4 in the national top-20 poll. Stanford is followed by USC and California, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 selections, in order, are Hawai'i, Loyola Marymount, Michigan, Arizona State, San Jose State and UC Irvine. UCLA won the 2010 MPSF Tournament title, and USC captured the 2010 NCAA Championship over runner-up Stanford.
AT THE HELM
Brandon Brooks is in his second year as UCLA's head coach. The four-year Bruin letterwinner (1999-2002) and a 2005 graduate of UCLA helped lead the Bruins to a 22-8 record and MPSF Tournament title in his first season as the program's head coach in 2010. Brooks represented the United States on the men's national team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, leading Team USA to the silver medal in 2008.