Feb. 3, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 5 UCLA women's water polo team returns to action at the Stanford Invitational this weekend (Feb. 6-7). After having gone 3-1 at the Michigan Invitational on Jan. 23-24, the Bruins will face familiar opponents at Stanford, including California, Hawai'i and Arizona State. The weekend tournament will feature two games each day for eight teams. The Stanford Invitational concludes with the championship match Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
UCLA at the Stanford Invitational
Saturday, Feb. 6 - at Stanford's Avery Stadium
UCLA (3-1) vs. No. 4 California (5-0) - 12 p.m.
UCLA (3-1) vs. No. 3 Hawai'i (4-0) - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7 - at Stanford's Baker Pool
UCLA (3-1) vs. No. 9 Arizona State (3-0) - 9:10 a.m.
UCLA (3-1) vs. TBD (time, pool TBD)
MICHIGAN IN REVIEW
UCLA opened its 2010 campaign at the Michigan Invitational the weekend of Jan. 23-24 and secured three victories in four games. The Bruins opened the trip with a 12-6 win over No. 19 Indiana before dropping a 7-6 decision in overtime to No. 7 San Diego State. UCLA rebounded with a pair of victories on Sunday, defeating No. 10 Michigan, 10-7, before downing UC San Diego, 10-4.
ON THE HORIZON
Following the upcoming Stanford Invitational (Feb. 6-7), the Bruins will host Cal State Northridge in a non-conference match on Saturday, Feb. 13. The following weekend, UCLA will travel north to face California (Feb. 20) in an MPSF game before playing at Sonoma State the next afternoon (Feb. 21).
The Bruins return 17 letterwinners from their 2009 NCAA Championship team and welcome 11 newcomers (10 freshmen, one transfer). Among UCLA's key returnees include juniors Priscilla Orozco, Kelly Easterday, Megan Burmeister and sophomores KK Clark, Randi Bresee and Sarah Orozco. Priscilla Orozco scored 42 goals in 2009, the highest total of any returning Bruin. Clark added 30 goals as a freshman in 2009, while classmates Bresee and Sarah Orozco each collected 17 goals.
Five newcomers scored goals in their UCLA debuts during the Michigan Invitational. Junior transfer Grace Reynolds registered a team-leading nine goals. The native of Foothill, Calif., spent her first two seasons playing for California. Freshman Leah Trella added six goals for the Bruins, while freshman Emily Greenwood added three goals and Brooke Martin and Heather Van Hiel each scored once.
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 enters the 2010 season 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. From 2007 through the 2009 season, UCLA won 41 consecutive games (4/15/07 - 2/7/09).
IN THE CAGE
The Bruins' 2010 roster features three talented goalkeepers - sophomores Caitlin Dement, and Kristen Simonds and junior Morgan Ronimus. Dement started each of the Bruins' four matches at the Michigan Invitational. The Chino, Calif., resident recorded 31 saves in 134 minutes, posting a 6.00 goals against average in the cage. She collected 19 saves in five matches last season. Expected to back up Dement is Simonds, who notched 12 saves in eight quarters last spring, posting a 3.00 goals against average.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on Feb. 3, UCLA has been tabbed No. 5 in the the top-20 rankings. Stanford is currently ranked No. 1 and is followed by USC and Hawai'i and California in the top four spots. Following fifth-ranked UCLA is (in order) Michigan, San Jose State, San Diego State, Arizona State and Loyola Marymount. Updated rankings are released each Wednesday.
In addition to welcoming a first-year head coach, the UCLA women's water polo team will play in a new pool this spring. The Spieker Aquatics Center opened in Sept. 2009, in time for UCLA's men's water polo season, and will also serve as the new home to UCLA women's water polo. The Bruins are slated to play four regular-season matches in Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center.
UCLA will play its first women's water polo match at Spieker Aquatics Center on Saturday, Feb. 13, in a non-conference tilt against Cal State Northridge (4 p.m.). The Bruins will be back in action at home against MPSF foe Arizona State on Saturday, March 13. UCLA hosts back-to-back MPSF contests against Stanford and San Jose State on March 27 and 28, respectively. For the first time in program history, UCLA will host the MPSF women's water polo tournament at Spieker Aquatics Center from April 30 through May 2.