April 14, 2010
LOS ANGELES - No. 4 UCLA takes on top-ranked USC at the Women of Troy's McDonald's Swim Stadium this Saturday afternoon. The two crosstown rivals have only met once this season, as USC earned a 13-3 victory in the third-place match of the Stanford Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 7. The Bruins enter this weekend tied for third place in the MPSF standings with California (4-2), while USC (4-0) is second to Stanford (5-0).
THIS WEEK'S MATCH
Saturday, April 17 - at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium (4:30 p.m.)
No. 4 UCLA (17-6, 4-2 MPSF) at No. 1 USC (18-1, 4-0)
The Bruins won two road games last week, earning an 8-4 victory at No. 7 Loyola Marymount on Thursday before defeating No. 14 San Diego State, 7-5, on Saturday afternoon. Junior Priscilla Orozco was the only Bruin to score at least one goal in both games - she registered two at LMU and one at San Diego State. Sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Dement collected 15 saves. UCLA improved its overall record to 17-6, and the win at San Diego State pushed the Bruins' MPSF mark to 4-2.
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 has received at least 12 goals or more from each of nine players this season. Leading the way for the Bruins are juniors Priscilla Orozco (32 goals) and Grace Reynolds (29 goals). UCLA has received balanced scoring throughout its roster, as sophomore KK Clark and junior Kelly Easterday rank third and fourth, respectively, on the club with 20 and 19 goals. Sophomore Sarah Orozco and freshman Brooke Martin are fifth and sixth, respectively, with 18 and 17 goals this spring.
UCLA's first-year Spieker Aquatics Center will serve as the host for the 2010 MPSF Tournament, slated to take place in two weeks (April 30-May 2). All media members looking to obtain working credentials for the event should contact Ryan Finney in UCLA's sports information office, preferably via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. This season marks the first year in which UCLA has hosted the MPSF Tournament.
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 22 of UCLA's 23 matches this season. The Chino, Calif., resident has recorded 200 saves in 740:30 minutes, posting a 6.18 goals against average in the cage. Dement made a career-high 22 saves at UC Davis on Feb. 21. Dement's 9.09 saves per game average ranks fourth-highest among MPSF goalkeepers.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on April 14, 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.