March 25, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA women's water polo team hosts its final two home matches this weekend, taking on No. 2 Stanford on Saturday before facing No. 6 San Jose State on Sunday. Both games are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. UCLA has just five regular-season games to play, including four matches against MPSF teams.
THIS WEEK'S MATCHES
Saturday, March 27 - at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center (1 p.m.)
No. 2 Stanford (17-1, 3-0 MPSF) at No. 4 UCLA (14-5, 2-1 MPSF)
Sunday, March 28 - at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center (1 p.m.)
No. 6 San Jose State (14-8, 2-2 MPSF) at No. 4 UCLA (14-5, 2-1 MPSF)
The Bruins two-week hiatus from regular-season action ends with two home matches this weekend. Prior to winter quarter final exams (week of March 15-19), UCLA earned a non-conference, 8-5 victory at UC Irvine before defeating MPSF opponent Arizona State, 13-6, two days later at the Bruins' new Spieker Aquatics Center. Junior Priscilla Orozco led the Bruins with four goals in each of the two wins.
Two players have secured MPSF Player of the Week honors for UCLA this season. Sophomore Caitlin Dement was named the conference's player of the week after recording a career-high 22 saves in an 8-3 win over UC Davis at Sonoma State on Feb. 21. Two weeks ago, junior Priscilla Orozco earned her first career player of the week award, scoring eight goals in two victories. In addition, freshman Emily Greenwood was named MPSF Newcomer of the Week on March 15, after scoring four goals in two wins.
UCLA played consecutive games (Feb. 28 and March 6) that featured prolonged overtime sessions. The Bruins secured a 7-6 win in eight overtimes against California on Feb. 28. That match stands as the longest game in the history of NCAA women's water polo. One week later, the Bruins dropped a 9-8 decision at Hawai'i in a conference match in six overtimes. Neither team scored in each of the first two three-minute overtime sessions (prior to sudden death), before Hawai'i broke an 8-8 tie in the sixth extra period.
With just five regular-season matches to play, the Bruins have received 10 or more goals from nine players. Junior Priscilla Orozco leads the group with 25 goals, and classmate Junior Grace Reynolds ranks second with 24 goals. Sophomore Sarah Orozco has tallied 18 goals, junior KK Clark has scored 16 goals and junior Kelly Easterday and freshman Brooke Martin have recorded 15 goals.
THIRD AT UCI INVITATIONAL
The Bruins finished third at the UCI Invitational one month ago (Feb. 27-28), winning three of four matches, including an eight-overtime third-place match versus California. UCLA opened the weekend with consecutive victories on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara (9-3) and Michigan (7-5). The Bruins dropped a 10-4 decision to Stanford on Sunday before rebounding with a 7-6 victory over California.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
UCLA's eight-overtime contest against California on Sunday, Feb. 28, marked the longest match in the history of NCAA women's water polo. The Bruins dropped a 3-2 decision in seven overtimes against Stanford at the 2003 MPSF Championships. In the victory against California last weekend, sophomore KK Clark scored the game-winning goal with 1:07 to play in the final overtime session.
ON THE HORIZON
Following this weekend's pair of games against Stanford and San Jose State, the Bruins will finish the regular season on the road. UCLA plays at Loyola Marymount on Thursday, April 8, and heads to San Diego State for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday, April 10. The Bruins will close their regular season schedule with an MPSF contest at USC on Saturday, April 17.
AT THE HELM
Leading a young UCLA team stocked with talented newcomers is first-year head coach Brandon Brooks. A four-year men's water polo letterwinner at UCLA (1999-2002), Brooks was named the second head coach in program history last June. A two-time USA Olympian and silver-medal winner at the 2008 Olympics, Brooks spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach on the men's and women's coaching staffs at UCLA. Brooks also welcomes former UCLA standout Molly Cahill as an assistant coach this spring.
UCLA currently presides as five-time defending NCAA champions. In that unprecedented five-year span, the Bruins have logged a 148-12 record (.925 winning percentage). Along the way, the Bruins have posted two perfect 33-0 records (including 12-0 marks in MPSF play). UCLA initiated its five-year run with a 33-0 finish in 2005 and duplicated that effort by going 33-0 in 2008.
IN THE CAGE
The Bruins' 2010 roster features three talented goalkeepers - sophomores Caitlin Dement, and Kristen Simonds and junior Morgan Ronimus. Dement has started 18 of UCLA's 19 matches this season. The Chino, Calif., resident has recorded 172 saves in 620:30 minutes, posting a 6.28 goals against average in the cage. Dement made a career-high 22 saves at UC Davis on Sunday, Feb. 21.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on March 24, UCLA has been tabbed No. 4 in the the top-20 rankings. USC is currently ranked No. 1 and is followed by Stanford, California, UCLA and Hawai'i in the top five spots. San Jose State, Arizona State, Michigan, Loyola Marymount and Cal State Northridge round out the top-10 rankings, respectively. Rankings are released each Wednesday.
In addition to welcoming a first-year head coach, the UCLA women's water polo team is playing at a new pool this spring. The Spieker Aquatics Center opened in Sept. 2009, in time for UCLA's men's water polo season, and serves as the new home to UCLA women's water polo. UCLA has two remaining regular-season matches in Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center before hosting the MPSF Tournament.