Feb. 21, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA competes in the UC Irvine Invitational this weekend, beginning with a match against Cal State Northridge on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 9 a.m. The winner of that contest will face either Arizona State or Loyola Marymount at 2 p.m. Both of Saturday's games (for UCLA) will take place at Corona del Mar High School.
PERFECT START: The Bruins opened MPSF play with three road wins - at UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, and Long Beach State. UCLA cruised to a 13-3 victory over UC Irvine on Friday, as three players each scored three goals. In Saturday's 10-5 win at Cal State Northridge, junior Katie Rulon led the charge with three goals. Senior Jillian Kraus tallied four goals in UCLA's 19-7 win at Long Beach State on Sunday.
DOUBLE VISION: Senior Jillian Kraus and junior Katie Rulon are tied for the team lead with 30 goals each. In three conference games last weekend, Kraus led UCLA with nine goals. Rulon has already earned Co-MPSF Player of the Week honors twice this season. Rulon has scored in 12 of the Bruins' 13 matches.
BRUINS SWEEP INVITE: UCLA won the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 16, posting wins over Michigan, Hawai'i, San Jose State and USC. The Bruins defeated the second-ranked Trojans, 8-4, in the final match at Stanford to win the invitational. UCLA notched its seventh consecutive victory against the Trojans, a streak that extends to the 2006 season.
BEST START SINCE: Having won the first 13 games of the season, UCLA has registered its best start since 2005, when the Bruins posted a perfect 33-0 record en route to winning the first of three consecutive NCAA Championships.
BALANCED ATTACK: The well-balanced Bruin offense features four players who have scored 20 or more goals and seven players with 10 or more goals. After Kraus' and Rulon's team-leading 30 goals, junior Tanya Gandy (22) and senior Brittany Rowe (20) round out the top four scorers.
IN THE CAGE: Junior Brittany Fullen has logged a 5.15 goals against average in 13 matches. Fullen has registered 90 saves in the cage, having played all 52 quarters this season. Fullen tallied a career-high 14 saves against Indiana on Sunday, Jan. 27, in UCLA's final game at the Michigan Invitational.
TITLE DEFENSE: The Bruins have won each of the last three NCAA Championships and claimed the MPSF Tournament title last spring. Last season's NCAA title marked UCLA's 100th NCAA team championship, making UCLA the first school to accomplish that feat. Since the sport's inception in 1995, the Bruins have captured nine national championships, six of which are NCAA championships (first NCAA in 2001).
TOP RANKED: UCLA earned the No. 1 preseason ranking. Conference foes USC, Stanford, Hawaii and California round out the preseason top five slots. The Golden Bears are followed by San Diego State, San Jose State, UC Davis, UC Irvine and Hartwick. The Bruins were a unanimous No. 1 selection, garnering all 100 points in the preseason rankings.
WHO'S BACK: Entering 2008, the Bruins returned 11 letterwinners and welcomed 12 newcomers. UCLA's five seniors have been a part of the program's last three NCAA Championships. Four juniors have helped UCLA win each of the past two NCAA titles. UCLA also returns one sophomore.
HOME SWEET HOME: UCLA has eight home matches remaining this season at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The Bruins will not return home until the weekend of March 8-9, when they will face Stanford and San Jose State on back-to-back afternoons. One month later, UCLA will host six games in a 12-day span, beginning with a crucial MPSF contest against California.
OFFENSIVE DEPTH: UCLA welcomes back five of six top returning scorers from last season's team. Senior Jillian Kraus (54) and junior Katie Rulon (52) finished the 2007 season as the Bruins' second and third-leading scorers. Junior Tanya Gandy (38) and seniors Brittany Rowe (34) and Gabrielle Domanic (32) rounded out the Bruins' top six scorers.
AT THE HELM: In his 10th season as head coach of the women's water polo team, Adam Krikorian has tallied an impressive 241-38 career record at UCLA. Krikorian has guided the women's water polo program to six national titles (five NCAA). He also serves as the UCLA men's water polo head coach and has led that program to three NCAA championships in nine years. Krikorian played water polo at UCLA, helping lead the 1995 men's water polo team to its first NCAA title since 1972.