March 10, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The No. 3 UCLA women's water polo team hosts No. 9 UC Irvine on Thursday in a non-conference match before flying to the Bay Area to face Santa Clara and No. 8 San Jose State. The Bruins have won their last five matches, including consecutive MPSF contests versus Arizona State and California. Earlier this season, UCLA defeated San Jose State by a 13-6 margin at the Stanford Invitational (Feb. 7). The Bruins look to improve on their 4-0 MPSF record when facing San Jose State on Sunday.
Thursday, March 12 - 3 p.m.
No. 9 UC Irvine (11-4) at No. 3 UCLA (15-3)
at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
Saturday, March 13 - 4 p.m.
No. 3 UCLA (15-3) at Santa Clara (9-9)
at Santa Clara's Sullivan Aquatic Center
Sunday, March 14 - 12 p.m.
No. 3 UCLA (15-3, 4-0) at No. 8 San Jose State (8-10, 1-3)
at San Jose State's Aquatic Center
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Senior Tanya Gandy was named MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 26, after having scored a team-leading nine goals through three games at the Michigan Invitational. Senior Brittany Fullen captured the weekly accolade on Feb. 16 after having netted 30 saves in two games. Most recently, senior Katie Rulon was named MPSF Player of the Week on March 9, having led UCLA with nine goals in three games last weekend.
Guiding a young team in 2009, UCLA's four seniors have helped lead the Bruins to a 15-3 record. Looking to capture their fifth consecutive NCAA title, UCLA has received a team-leading 44 goals from Gandy, 36 goals from Rulon and 25 goals from Belden. Fullen has started in goal in 16 of UCLA's 18 matches, collecting 139 saves in 61-plus quarters.
A host of freshmen have made significant contributions through the team's first 18 matches. Freshman KK Clark ranks fifth on the team with 19 goals. Additionally, freshmen Randi Bresee and Sarah Orozco have totaled 14 goals and nine goals, respectively. In all, the Bruins have received at least four goals from 14 players this season.
Senior Brittany Fullen registered a career-high 18 saves in UCLA's 14-7 win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Feb. 14. The previous afternoon, Fullen tied her then-career-high with 12 saves in a 14-7 MPSF victory against San Diego State. UCLA leads all MPSF teams in fewest goals allowed per game, limiting the opposition to a 5.50 goals-per-game average.
UCLA's program-record 46-game win streak came to an end on Feb. 7, as Hawai'i edged the Bruins, 13-12. That streak 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 Bruins' 2009 squad features 10 sophomores, including top scoring threat Priscilla Orozco. Entering this weekend's contests, Orozco has totaled 24 goals, the fourth-highest total on the team. Through UCLA's first 18 matches, she has scored at least one goal in 12 games. Priscilla is joined on the team this spring by her younger sister, freshman Sarah Orozco (nine goals).
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.
IN THE POLLS
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on March 4, UCLA has been ranked third in the Division I poll. Stanford and USC are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and Hawai'i has captured the No. 4 spot. Rounding out the top six selections are Arizona State (5), San Diego State (6), California (7), San Jose State (8), UC Irvine (9) and Loyola Marymount (10).
HOME SWEET HOME
Including Thursday's non-conference game against UC Irvine, the Bruins' home slate features four more contests this season at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The other three home games include a doubleheader on March 26 against Hartwick and Brown. The Bruins close their regular season schedule at home versus crosstown rival USC (April 11).
AT THE HELM
Adam Krikorian has tallied a 278-41 record, midway through his 11th season at the helm. 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.