March 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team plays its second MPSF contest of the season at No. 5 Hawai'i on Saturday. Game time at Hawai'i's Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex is slated for 9 p.m. (PT). The Bruins opened their MPSF slate with a 7-6 victory at California on Feb. 20. UCLA edged Hawai'i, 9-8, in a non-conference match at the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 6.
THIS WEEK'S MATCH
Saturday, March 6 - at Hawai'i (Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex), 9 p.m. (PT)
No. 3 UCLA (12-4) at No. 5 Hawai'i (8-6, 0-2)
THIRD AT UCI INVITATIONAL
The Bruins finished third at the UCI Invitational last weekend (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 morning before rebounding with a 7-6 victory in an NCAA-record eight overtime sessions (final six periods were played in sudden-death overtime)
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.
WINNERS IN NORCAL
UCLA went 3-0 in three games in northern California two weeks ago, opening the trip with a crucial 7-6 victory at California in the Bruins' first MPSF match of the season. UCLA evened its record against the Golden Bears to 1-1 on the season. The Bruins won a pair of non-conference games the next day. UCLA defeated UC Davis, 8-3, before cruising past Sonoma State, 24-4 (both games at Sonoma State).
MORE THAN HALFWAY
UCLA has compiled a 12-4 record through 16 matches and has played two-thirds of its regular season games. Through 16 matches, junior Grace Reynolds leads the team with 24 goals and is followed by junior Priscilla Orozco (19), sophomore Sarah Orozco (15) and sophomore KK Clark (13). Entering this weekend's MPSF game at Hawai'i, the Bruins have won seven of their last eight contests.
MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Dement secured MPSF Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career one week ago. Dement, who hails from Chino, Calif., logged a career-high 22 saves in UCLA's 8-3 win over UC Davis at Sonoma State on Feb. 21. She finished that weekend with 27 saves, including five stops in UCLA's 7-6 victory at then-No. 3 California last Saturday.
In four games last weekend, the Bruins received at least one goal from each of eight players. Junior Grace Reynolds and sophomore KK Clark tied for the team lead at the UC Irvine Invitational with five goals each. No Bruin registered more than two goals in any match. Clark and junior Priscilla Orozco each scored two goals in UCLA's third-place match win over California.
ON THE HORIZON
Following this weekend's match at Hawai'i, the Bruins will play at No. 13 UC Irvine next Thursday before hosting an MPSF contest against No. 6 Arizona State at the Bruins' new Spieker Aquatics Center. UCLA has eight regular-season matches left on the schedule, including Saturday's game at Hawai'i.
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 each of the Bruins' eight matches this season. The Chino, Calif., resident has recorded 140 saves in 508:35 minutes, posting a 6.20 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 Feb. 24, UCLA has been tabbed No. 3 in the the top-20 rankings. USC is currently ranked No. 1 and is followed by Stanford, UCLA, California and Hawai'i in the top five spots. Arizona State, San Jose 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. The Bruins defeated Cal State Northridge, 9-5, in their home opener on Saturday, Feb. 13. UCLA has three regular-season matches in Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center before hosting the MPSF Tournament from April 30-May 2.