Feb. 28, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The top-ranked UCLA women's water polo team (17-0, 3-0 MPSF) hits the road to play at No. 17 UC Santa Barbara (4-8, 0-2) on Saturday, March 1. Game time is set for 12 p.m. at the Gauchos' Campus Pool. Saturday's match marks the Bruins' only contest this week. The following weekend, UCLA returns home to host No. 2 Stanford and No. 7 San Jose State.
BRUINS SWEEP INVITE: UCLA won the UC Irvine Invitational just two weeks after sweeping the Stanford Invitational. In Orange County last weekend, the Bruins registered convincing victories over Cal State Northridge and Loyola Marymount, before defeating California in the semifinals. The Bruins captured an 8-7 win against second-ranked Stanford in sudden-victory overtime Sunday evening. In the title match, senior Gabrielle Domanic registered the game-winning goal with just seven seconds to play in the sudden-victory period.
WEEKLY DEAL: UCLA has garnered four MPSF Player of the Week selections in five weeks. Junior Katie Rulon has twice earned the weekly honor. Senior Jillian Kraus was named MPSF Co-Player of the Week on Feb. 18, and junior Brittany Fullen was honored as Player of the Week on Feb. 25. Last weekend, Fullen recorded 40 saves in four matches at the UC Irvine Invitational, registering a career-best 15 saves in the Bruins' 8-7 win over Stanford.
BEST START SINCE: Having won the first 17 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.
PERFECT MPSF START: Two weeks ago, the Bruins opened MPSF play with three road wins - at UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, and Long Beach State. The Bruins cruised to a 13-3 victory over UC Irvine on Friday, as three players each scored three goals. In the win at Cal State Northridge, junior Katie Rulon tallied three goals. Senior Jillian Kraus added four goals in UCLA's 19-7 win at Long Beach State.
BALANCED ATTACK: The well-balanced Bruin offense features five players who have scored 20 or more goals and seven players with 10 or more goals. Katie Rulon leads the way with 36 goals. Jillian Kraus (35), Brittany Rowe (28) and Tanya Gandy (27) round out the team's top four scorers after 17 games.
IN THE CAGE: Junior Brittany Fullen has logged a 5.18 goals against average in 17 matches. Fullen has registered 134 saves in the cage, having played all 68 quarters this season. Fullen tallied a career-high 15 saves against Stanford on Feb. 24, leading UCLA to the UC Irvine Invitational title.
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 has maintained the No. 1 ranking all season. Conference foes USC, Stanford, Hawaii and California rounded 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 (preseason).
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.
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 245-38 career record. 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, having 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.