Jan. 18, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team has earned the No. 1 spot in the 2008 MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on Friday. The Bruins earned 132 total points and 11 of 12 first-place votes.
UCLA won its third consecutive NCAA title in 2007, marking the program's ninth national championship, as the Bruins finished their campaign with a 28-2 overall record and an 11-1 MPSF mark.
USC was picked to finish second in the coaches' poll. California, who received one first-place vote, and Stanford fell into a third-place tie. Stanford won the MPSF regular-season title in 2007 and fell to UCLA, 5-4, in the NCAA Championship.
Hawaii was selected fifth, San Diego State was ranked sixth, as San Jose State, Arizona State, UC Irvine and Arizona State filled out the top 10. UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge and Pacific rounded out the poll's final three spots.
Aiming for their fourth consecutive NCAA Championship, the top-ranked Bruins return major scoring threats Jillian Kraus, Katie Rulon and Courtney Mathewson. Last season, Kraus scored in all but four matches for UCLA, totaling 54 goals (second-highest total on the team).
Rulon recorded 52 goals, including 15 multiple-goal efforts. Mathewson tallied 35 goals, including a team-leading three goals in UCLA's win over Stanford in the NCAA Championship.
UCLA opens its 2008 season against Arizona State in the Michigan Invitation on Saturday, Jan. 26. Later that day, the Bruins take on UC San Diego.
2008 MPSF PRESEASON WOMEN'S WATER POLO COACHES POLL
|No.||School||Points (1st Place)|
|6.||San Diego State||78|
|7.||San Jose State||71|
|10.||Long Beach State||42|
|11.||UC Santa Barbara||34|
|12.||Cal State Northridge||27|