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No. 3 UCLA Women's Water Polo Opens Season at Michigan Invitational
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  01/22/2009

Jan. 22, 2009

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LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team opens its 2009 season at the Michigan Invitational this weekend, playing three games in two days. Last season, the Bruins opened their season by going 4-0 in two days at the Michigan Invitational, registering wins against Arizona State, UC San Diego, Colorado State and Indiana. Following the Michigan Invitational, UCLA's schedule features a 10-day break before resuming action with a non-conference match at Long Beach State (Feb. 5, 7 p.m.). Led by 11th-year head coach Adam Krikorian, the 2009 UCLA women's water polo team returns 15 letterwinners. The Bruins bring back five seniors and 10 sophomores and welcome eight freshmen.

THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
No. 3 UCLA (0-0) vs. Bucknell (0-0)

Saturday, Jan. 24 - 5:15 a.m. (PT)
at Michigan's Canham Natatorium

No. 3 UCLA (0-0) vs. Indiana (0-0)
Saturday, Jan. 24 - 10:15 a.m. (PT)
at Michigan's Canham Natatorium

No. 3 UCLA (0-0) at No. 10 Michigan (0-0)
Sunday, Jan. 25 - 11:30 a.m. (PT)
at Michigan's Canham Natatorium

SENIOR LEADERS
Guiding a young team in 2009, UCLA's five seniors look to lead the Bruins to their fifth consecutive NCAA title. Anne Belden, Brittany Fullen, Tanya Gandy, Kim Nelson and Katie Rulon have each played roles in leading UCLA to NCAA titles the past four 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, and Nelson has scored 23 goals in 55 career matches.

LEADING SCORER
UCLA returns senior Katie Rulon, its leading scorer from the 2008 season. As a junior last spring, Rulon scored 62 goals before earning third team ACWPC All-America honors. Rulon logged a team-best 55 steals and also added 31 assists and 21 earned exclusions. The Point Loma, Calif., resident has totaled 141 career goals, currently ranking fourth on the Bruins' all-time goals list. As a sophomore in 2007, Rulon tallied 52 goals and 37 steals.

MPSF REALIGNMENT
The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) has reduced its 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, on Friday, Feb. 13.

IN THE POLLS
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Wednesday, Jan. 14, UCLA has been ranked third in the national Division I preseason poll. USC and Stanford are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and Hawai'i and California round out the top five spots, in order. All eight MPSF programs are ranked in the preseason poll's top eight spots - San Diego State, San Jose State and Arizona State follow at No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

IN THE CAGE
Senior Brittany Fullen enters the 2009 season having recorded 306 career saves, currently the fourth-highest mark in program history. Fullen's current 3.87 career goals against average ranks as the highest 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. Fullen's 4.73 goals against average last spring was the third-lowest mark among MPSF goalkeepers. The San Clemente, Calif., resident earned second-team ACWPC All-America honors.

HOME SWEET HOME
UCLA's 2009 schedule features eight home contests to be played at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The Bruins open their home slate against San Diego State on Feb. 13 and host Loyola Marymount the following afternoon. UCLA takes on Hawai'i on Feb. 19 and welcomes California on March 7. After a non-conference match against UC Irvine on March 12, UCLA hosts a doubleheader on March 26 against Hartwick and Brown. The Bruins close their regular season and home schedule against crosstown rival USC on April 11.

AT THE HELM
In his 11th season as head coach of the women's water polo team, Adam Krikorian has tallied a 263-38 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 has been named National Women's Water Polo Coach the Year five times (2001, 2005-08) and has 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).


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