April 7, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 4 UCLA women's water polo team plays two matches on the road this week. The Bruins play at No. 7 Loyola Marymount on Thursday afternoon before heading south for an MPSF match at No. 14 San Diego State. The Bruins have just three matches remaining, all on the road, this season.
THIS WEEK'S MATCHES
Thursday, April 8 - at LMU's Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center
No. 4 UCLA (15-6) at No. 7 Loyola Marymount (19-2)
Saturday, April 10 - at SDSU's Aztec Aquaplex
No. 4 UCLA (15-6, 3-2 MPSF) at No. 14 San Diego State (18-11, 0-5 MPSF)
BACK IN ACTION
Set to play their first game in 11 days on Thursday, the No. 4-ranked UCLA women's water polo team is tied for fourth place in the MPSF standings with Hawai'i. Both teams enter the week with 3-2 conference records. Stanford (4-0) leads the pack, ahead of USC (3-0) and California (4-2). UCLA has two MPSF matches remaining this spring - at San Diego State on Saturday and at USC on April 17. The Bruins have not played Loyola Marymount this season and dropped a 7-6 overtime decision to San Diego State in January.
UCLA has received at least 10 goals or more from each of nine players this season. Leading the way for the Bruins are juniors Priscilla Orozco (29 goals) and Grace Reynolds (27 goals). UCLA has received balanced scoring throughout its roster, as sophomores KK Clark and Sarah Orozco rank third and fourth, respectively, on the club with 19 and 18 goals. Sophomore Kelly Easterday and freshman Brooke Martin are tied for fifth on the team with 17 goals through the Bruins' first 21 matches.
ON THE HORIZON
Following this week's pair of road matches at Loyola Marymount and San Diego State, the Bruins will close their regular-season schedule at crosstown rival and No. 1-ranked USC on Saturday, April 17. Game time at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium is slated for 4:30 p.m. The Bruins will host the season-culminating MPSF Tournament for the first time ever. UCLA's first-year Spieker Aquatics Center will serve as the tournament's host facility from April 30-May 2.
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. Junior Priscilla Orozco earned her first career player of the week award on March 15, 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.
THIRD AT UCI INVITATIONAL
The Bruins finished third at the UCI Invitational over one month ago (Feb. 27-28), winning three of four matches, including an eight-overtime third-place match against California. UCLA opened the weekend with two 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.
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. Dement's 9.25 saves per game average ranks third-highest among MPSF goalkeepers.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on March 31, 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, Loyola Marymount, Michigan, Arizona State and Cal State Northridge round out the top-10 rankings, respectively. Rankings are released each Wednesday.