Feb. 19, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team plays its first MPSF contest of the season at No. 3 California on Saturday evening. Game time at California's Spieker Aquatic Complex is 7 p.m. The following afternoon, UCLA will play UC Davis and Sonoma State, as both games are to be played at Sonoma State's Rudloff Pool.
THIS WEEKEND'S SCHEDULE
Saturday, Feb. 20 - at California's Spieker Aquatic Complex (7 p.m.)
No. 4 UCLA (6-3, 0-0 MPSF) at No. 3 California (10-1, 2-0 MPSF)
Sunday, Feb. 21 - at Sonoma State's Rudloff Pool
No. 4 UCLA (6-3) vs. No. 15 UC Davis (3-5) - Game time, 11:15 a.m.
No. 4 UCLA (6-3) at Sonoma State (1-8) - Game time, 2:15 p.m.
THROUGH NINE GAMES
UCLA has compiled a 6-3 record through nine games. Most recently, the Bruins defeated No. 12 Cal State Northridge in their first-ever game at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center. Juniors Megan Burmeister and Priscilla Orozco each scored two goals in that non-conference victory. The Bruins have also registered non-conference wins over Indiana, Michigan, UC San Diego, Hawai'i and Arizona State.
During the Stanford Invitational, the Bruins received goals from 11 players. Seven Bruins registered two or more goals, as junior Grace Reynolds led the way with five goals in four matches. Reynolds tallied two goals against Hawai'i and two more versus Arizona State the next day. Freshman Brooke Martin was second on the team with three goals at the tournament, including a team-high two versus 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 dropping a 7-6 decision in overtime to San Diego State. UCLA rebounded 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 three games in northern California, the Bruins will play at the UC Irvine Invitational. UCLA opens the weekend (Feb. 27-28) by playing against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara and either No. 5 Michigan or No. 13 San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Corona del Mar High School (Newport Beach, Calif.). The two-day tournament concludes Sunday with two more matches (times, opponents TBD).
Junior Grace Reynolds leads UCLA with 15 goals through nine games. The resident of Santa Ana, Calif., has scored at least one goal in seven of the team's nine matches. Junior Priscilla Orozco ranks second on the team with 11 goals, and freshman Leah Trella has netted eight goals. In all, 11 players have scored at least two goals. Reynolds and Orozco have each scored a season-high four goals in one game.
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. 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 has started each of the Bruins' eight matches this season. The Chino, Calif., resident has recorded 74 saves in 294 minutes, posting a 6.66 goals against average in the cage. Dement made a career-high 11 saves against Cal State Northridge last Saturday. Backing her up 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. 17, UCLA has been tabbed No. 4 in the the top-20 rankings. Stanford is currently ranked No. 1 and is followed by USC, California, UCLA 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 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.