Feb. 11, 2009
THE WEEK AHEAD
Friday, Feb. 13 - 3 p.m.
at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
No. 4 UCLA (5-2) vs. No. 5 San Diego State (6-0)
Saturday, Feb. 14 - 1 p.m.
at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
No. 4 UCLA (5-2) vs. No. 9 Loyola Marymount (3-1)
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team opens its home schedule and conference slate against No. 5 San Diego State on Friday, Feb. 13. Game time against the Aztecs is 3 p.m. The Bruins will host No. 9 Loyola Marymount the following day at 1 p.m. Last weekend, UCLA dropped two of three matches at the Stanford Invitational. One of the Bruins' two victories came against the U.S. Junior National Team (12-8) in an exhibition match and does not count in the team's official stats or record.
Seniors Tanya Gandy and Katie Rulon are the Bruins' two most veteran scoring threats. Entering this weekend's matches against San Diego State and Loyola Marymount, Gandy has scored 20 goals and Rulon has added 13. Rulon logged a team-high 62 goals as a junior in 2008 before earning third-team All-America honors. Gandy totaled 47 goals as a junior one year ago.
The Bruins' 2009 squad features 10 sophomores, including top scoring threat Priscilla Orozco. Entering this weekend's action against San Diego State and Loyola Marymount, Orozco has scored 10 goals, the third-highest total on the team. As a freshman in 2008, Orozco finished the season with 25 goals before earning All-MPSF Freshman Team honors.
Guiding a young team in 2009, UCLA's four seniors look to lead the Bruins to their fifth consecutive NCAA title. Anne Belden, Brittany Fullen, Tanya Gandy, and Katie Rulon have each played significant roles in leading UCLA to NCAA titles the past three seasons. Belden, Gandy and Rulon accounted for 32 percent of UCLA's total goals in 2008. Fullen served as UCLA's starting goalkeeper in 2008.
UCLA's program-record 46-game win streak came to an end on Saturday, Feb. 7, as then-No. 4 Hawai'i edged the Bruins, 13-12. UCLA's win streak currently stands as the longest in collegiate women's water polo history. Following a 7-6 loss at Stanford on April 14, 2007, UCLA won its next 46 games, spanning three different seasons. Along the way, the Bruins captured the 2007 and 2008 NCAA Championships.
The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) has reduced its number of women's water polo members from 13 to eight this season. Five previous members of the MPSF have joined the Big West Conference in women's water polo. Each MPSF team will play seven conference games in 2009, as UCLA hosts four MPSF matches and plays three conference games on the road. UCLA opens MPSF competition with its first home game, versus San Diego State, this Friday at 3 p.m.
IN THE POLLS
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Wednesday, Feb. 11, UCLA has been ranked fourth in the Division I poll. USC and Stanford are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and Hawai'i has captured the No. 3 spot. Following No. 4 UCLA are San Diego State (5), California (6), UC Davis and San Jose State (tied, 7), Loyola Marymount (9) and Arizona State (10). All eight MPSF programs are ranked in the top 10 spots in this week's poll.
IN THE CAGE
Senior Brittany Fullen has totaled 351 career saves, currently the fourth-highest mark in program history. Fullen's current 4.08 career goals against average ranks as the third-lowest mark in the school's record book. Last season, Fullen established UCLA's single-season saves record, making 237 stops as the starting goalkeeper in all 33 matches. The San Clemente, Calif., resident earned second-team ACWPC All-America honors as a junior in 2008.
HOME SWEET HOME
UCLA's schedule features eight home games to be played at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The home slate features San Diego State (Feb. 13) and Loyola Marymount (Feb. 14). UCLA takes on Hawai'i on Feb. 19 and welcomes California on March 7. After a non-conference match against UC Irvine (March 12), UCLA hosts a doubleheader on March 26 against Hartwick and Brown. The Bruins close their regular season at home versus USC (April 11).
AT THE HELM
In his 11th season as head coach of the women's water polo team, Adam Krikorian has tallied a 268-40 record. A four-year men's water polo letterwinner and 1997 UCLA graduate, Krikorian has been a part of 14 national championships in 16 seasons with the men's and women's water polo programs. Krikorian led the women's program to seven national championships (six NCAA). Krikorian has twice led the UCLA women's water polo program to undefeated NCAA championship seasons (33-0 record in 2005 and 2008, including perfect 12-0 MPSF marks in both seasons).