March 4, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The No. 3 UCLA women's water polo team plays three games this week, beginning Saturday at home against No. 7 California. The Bruins defeated the Golden Bears by a 9-4 margin at the UC Irvine Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 21. UCLA plays two matches at Cal Lutheran on Sunday. The Bruins face Cal Lutheran at 8:30 a.m. before staying in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to face No. 14 Cal State Northridge at 1:30 p.m. The Bruins enter this weekend with a 12-3 record and 3-0 MPSF mark.
Saturday, March 7 - 1 p.m.
No. 7 California (15-3, 3-0) at No. 3 UCLA (12-3, 3-0)
at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
Sunday, March 8 - 8:30 a.m.
No. 3 UCLA (12-3) at Cal Lutheran (3-3)
at Cal Lutheran (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Sunday, March 8 - 1:30 p.m.
No. 14 Cal State Northridge (5-11) vs. No. 3 UCLA (12-3)
at Cal Lutheran (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
LEADING THE WAY
Seniors Tanya Gandy and Katie Rulon are the Bruins' two most veteran scoring threats. Entering this weekend's action, Gandy has scored a team-leading 38 goals, and Rulon follows with 27 goals in 15 matches. One year ago, Rulon logged a team-high 62 goals as a junior before earning third-team All-America honors. Gandy totaled 47 goals as a junior last spring.
THIRD AT IRVINE
UCLA finished third at the UC Irvine Invitational two weeks ago, earning victories over Long Beach State (18-2), California (9-4) and Hawai'i (12-7) in the third-place match. The Bruins were edged, 8-7, by crosstown rival USC in a semifinal match on Sunday morning. Earlier this season, UCLA finished fourth at the Stanford Invitational (Feb. 7-8).
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. Fullen enters Saturday's match against California having totaled 121 saves in 14 matches, averaging 8.6 saves per game.
The Bruins' 2009 squad features 10 sophomores, including top scoring threat Priscilla Orozco. Entering this weekend's contests, Orozco has totaled 23 goals, the third-highest total on the team. Through UCLA's first 15 matches, she has scored at least one goal in 11 games. Priscilla is joined on the team this spring by her younger sister, freshman Sarah Orozco (eight goals).
Guiding a young team in 2009, UCLA's four seniors look to lead the Bruins to their fifth consecutive NCAA title. Anne Belden, Brittany Fullen, Tanya Gandy, and Katie Rulon have each played major roles in leading UCLA to NCAA titles the past three seasons. Gandy, Rulon and Belden are among UCLA's top four scorers this season. Fullen has started in the cage in 14 of the team's 15 matches.
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 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. UCLA opens MPSF competition with its first home game, versus San Diego State, this Friday at 3 p.m.
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
UCLA's schedule features five more home games to be played at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Upcoming home matches include UCLA vs. California on Saturday, March 7. After a non-conference match against UC Irvine (March 12), UCLA hosts a doubleheader on March 26 against Hartwick and Brown. The Bruins close their regular season at home versus USC (April 11).
AT THE HELM
Adam Krikorian has tallied a 275-41 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.