Feb. 25, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team continues its season this weekend at the UC Irvine Invitational. The Bruins will play four games in two days, opening with a contest against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. UCLA will face either No. 5 Michigan or No. 13 San Diego State in a second-round match that day.
UC IRVINE INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
Saturday, Feb. 27 - at Corona del Mar High School
No. 3 UCLA (9-3) vs. No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (6-5) - 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 - at Corona del Mar High School
No. 3 UCLA (9-3) vs. No. 5 Michigan or No. 13 San Diego State (time TBD)
Sunday, Feb. 28 - at UC Irvine or Corona del Mar High School
Two games (time, location TBD)
UCLA went 3-0 last weekend, opening its trip to northern California with a crucial 7-6 victory at California in the Bruins' first MPSF match of the season. UCLA evened its record against the Golden Bears to 1-1 on the season. The Bruins won a pair of non-conference games on Sunday. UCLA defeated UC Davis, 8-3, before cruising past Sonoma State, 24-4 (both games at Sonoma State).
ONE DOZEN DOWN
UCLA has compiled a 9-3 record through its first 12 matches, reaching the halfway mark of its regular season. Through 12 games, junior Grace Reynolds leads the team with 19 goals and is followed by junior Priscilla Orozco (14), sophomore Sarah Orozco (12) and freshman Leah Trella (11). The Bruins have won six of their last seven contests.
MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Dement has secured MPSF Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career. Dement, who hails from Chino, Calif., logged a career-high 22 saves in UCLA's 8-3 win over UC Davis at Sonoma State on Sunday. She finished the weekend with 27 saves, including five stops in UCLA's 7-6 victory at then-No. 3 California last Saturday.
In three games last weekend, the Bruins received at least one goal from each of 14 players. Sophomore Sarah Orozco led the group with seven goals in three matches, scoring a career-high four goals in UCLA's 8-3 victory over UC Davis. Juniors Kelly Easterday and Grace Reynolds were the only other Bruins to score at least one goal in each of UCLA's three victories last weekend.
BACK FROM STANFORD
The Bruins posted a 2-2 record at the Stanford Invitational the weekend of Feb. 6-7. After dropping a narrow 4-3 decision to California on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins responded with a 9-8 victory over Hawai'i that evening. The next day, UCLA defeated Arizona State and lost to USC.
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 Indiana before falling in overtime, 7-6, to San Diego State. UCLA bounced back with a pair of victories on Sunday, defeating Michigan, 10-7, before downing UC San Diego, 10-4.
ON THE HORIZON
Following this weekend's tournament at UC Irvine, the Bruins will play an MPSF contest on Saturday, March 6, at Hawai'i (in Honolulu). The following week, UCLA faces UC Irvine on Thursday, March 11 in a non-conference road contest before hosting Arizona State on Saturday, March 13. After the UCI Invitational, the Bruins will have just eight regular-season contests to play before hosting the MPSF Tournament.
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 each of the Bruins' eight matches this season. The Chino, Calif., resident has recorded 101 saves in 358 minutes, posting a 6.27 goals against average in the cage. Dement made a career-high 22 saves at UC Davis last Sunday.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association on Feb. 24, UCLA has been tabbed No. 3 in the the top-20 rankings. Stanford is currently ranked No. 1 and is followed by USC, UCLA, California and Michigan in the top five spots. Hawai'i, Loyola Marymount, Arizona State, Cal State Northridge and San Jose State round out the top-10 rankings, respectively. Updated rankings are released each Wednesday.
In addition to welcoming a first-year head coach, the UCLA women's water polo team is playing at a new pool this spring. The Spieker Aquatics Center opened in Sept. 2009, in time for UCLA's men's water polo season, and serves as the new home to UCLA women's water polo. The Bruins defeated Cal State Northridge, 9-5, in their home opener on Saturday, Feb. 13. UCLA has three regular-season matches in Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center before hosting the MPSF Tournament from April 30-May 2.