Word From Westwood - November 1, 2011
Nov. 1, 2011
What a week it is to be a Bruin!
As I am writing to all of you, we have three #1-ranked teams nationally, as well as a #2.
The top-ranked women's volleyball team swept both Cal and Stanford (first time on the road since 2000) in the Bay Area last weekend and moved into the top spot in the nation. In addition, two of head coach Michael Sealy's student-athletes earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors - senior Lainey Gera (defensive) and junior Rachael Kidder (offensive).
The women's golf and men's water polo teams, also #1 in their sports, had last weekend off but return to action this week. The golfers will wrap up their fall schedule this week at Hawaii's Rainbow Wahine Invitational, while men's water polo will host Pacific on Friday at Spieker Aquatics Center.
It's still early November, so no one can say for certain where each of the teams will end up at the end of their seasons, but it sure evokes a sense of pride to see them as the program that others are trying to emulate.
The Bruin football team gave all of us its most complete performance of the season against Cal on homecoming and came away with a 31-14 win. All of the coaches and players understand that the same intensity and commitment are going to be keys to their success when we host a very good Arizona State team at the Rose Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
That said, this is where all of you come in - we want to create the same great atmosphere we enjoyed last week. The homecoming crowd created a setting that was certainly a boost to our players and coaches against Cal. I personally loved the flash mob organized by our students between the third and fourth quarters and would've enjoyed being a part of it, but I guess somebody forgot to show me all the right moves. A similarly passionate crowd can be a big factor for us again as we play for a share of the lead in the Pac-12 South division this week, and I hope to see you all there!
Basketball Set to Tip Off
Basketball season is upon us. By this time next week, our men's and women's teams will have played their exhibition matches and will be ready for the regular season. The men open the Bruin Road Show in Ontario on Sunday afternoon (November 6) at 2 pm against Cal State San Bernardino, while the women will host Vanguard at the Wooden Center next Monday night (November 7) at 7 pm.
Both teams will begin regular season play on Friday, November 11 in a unique "day-night doubleheader" on Veterans' Day, with the women taking on McNeese State in the WNIT at 2 pm in the Wooden Center and the men hosting Loyola Marymount at 7:30 pm at the LA Sports Arena.
I am pleased to announce that we have started to expand the focus of the What's Bruin Blog on UCLABruins.com. Though the blog will still be a place for our sports information department to post news and notes about all of our teams, we now also have brought in two bloggers, one to cover the men's team and the other for the women's team. Between them, they have nearly two decades of experience covering intercollegiate athletics in the Los Angeles market, and we are happy to have them on board.
This is another part of the concerted effort on our part to get you the fans increased access to news about our teams that may not otherwise be covered by other media sources. This expanded information access was designed with fans in mind, so please send me an email to let me know how we're doing ...
Do You Know the Way to
Sunday and Monday, I had the pleasure of spending some time, including a wonderful dinner, with the #3-ranked men's golf team as they traveled to the Bay Area to host and play in the 7th annual Gifford Collegiate Championship at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin.
More importantly, it was an opportunity for me to talk shop with Head Coach Derek Freeman and Assistant Coach Jason Sigler in an informal setting, re-acquaint myself with the returning players and get to know the new student-athletes over dinner. I also followed the golfers on the course for parts of both days and witnessed some fantastic play. If you have never had the chance to attend a college golf tournament, put it on your "to do" list. You will not be disappointed. Both our nationally-ranked men's and women's teams will play in local tournaments throughout the year. Our players are fantastic, but don't take my word for it, you need to come out and see them for yourself. I relish these opportunities and try to take the time for as many of them as my schedule will allow throughout the school year.
Hall of Fame Inductions
This coming Friday evening (November 4), the Bruin Varsity Club will host one of the most special events we put on all year, when eight former Bruin student-athletes and coaches will be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall Of Fame.
This year's class includes: Gary Adams, baseball; Ato Boldon, track & field; Theotis Brown, football; Ernie Case, football; Larry Nagler, tennis; Mel North, fencing; Alex Rousseau, water polo; and Janeene Vickers-McKinney, track & field.
The Hall of Fame, which is housed on the first floor of the Morgan Center, is one of the most impressive collegiate sports halls of fame in the nation. The museum collection includes the original Heisman Trophy won by Gary Beban, the Wooden Awards won by Marques Johnson and Ed O'Bannon, and the Honda-Broderick Cups won by stellar female athletes, including Lisa Fernandez, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Ann Meyers Drysdale, and Natasha Watley.
Admission to the Hall of Fame is free, so please stop and take a look if you happen to be on campus during regular business hours or on the first Saturday of each month.
Felicidades a Anita Ortega
Last Thursday, I was fortunate enough to attend the UCLA Latino Alumni Network's 20th Anniversary Scholarship & Alumni Awards Dinner. I was there with members of my staff, as well as head women's basketball coach Cori Close, women's basketball player Rhema Gardner and Marisa Samaniego, a former All-American Diver.
We were all there to support the Network's stellar work in providing scholarships for dozens of deserving students. In addition, we were there to salute two great Bruins who were honored as Alumni of the Year by the Network - attorney James Blancarte and former student-athlete and UCLA Hall of Famer Anita Ortega '82. Anita is the first Afro-Puerto Rican captain in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. Indicative of an incredible work ethic that would later manifest itself at the LAPD, Anita, raised in South LA, went from a walk-on her first year to an All-American as a senior. She even represented her father's native Puerto Rico in the 1979 Pan American Games.
Most importantly, she is a wonderful person and a great ambassador for UCLA, and we couldn't be more proud of her and this special recognition.
Olympic Sports Update
The top-ranked women's volleyball team welcomes Washington and Washington State to the Wooden Center on Friday and Sunday, respectively ... #2-ranked women's soccer will host USC at Drake Stadium on Friday at 7 pm ... #8-ranked men's soccer visits Cal and Stanford, needing just a tie in either game to clinch the Pac-12 title ... men's cross country (#20 in the nation) took home fourth place in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship and will have a week off before competing in the NCAA West Regional on 11/12.
Ask Dan Question of the Week
Q: Dan, I live and work on the Westside and love the ease of getting to/from Pauley for men's basketball games. With the team not playing there, I don't like the idea of potentially sitting in traffic for hours driving all the way to Ontario, Anaheim, or even Downtown LA - is there an easier way for me to get there? Matt Adler
With that in mind, we are offering bus service from Jackie Robinson Stadium to each of our basketball venues for all 19 home games. The fare will be $16 per person for round-trip transportation. Buses will depart from JRS two hours prior to tip-off (three hours for the Arizona game) and plan to arrive on-site approximately 30 minutes before the start of the game. Buses are then scheduled to depart shortly following each game and return to Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Any Bruin fan looking to get to a game this way can reserve a seat at least 48 hours prior to each game by calling the Central Ticket Office at (310) UCLA-WIN. Please note that day-of-game rider reservations will only be accepted if there is space is available and must be paid in cash.
Matt, I'd appreciate feedback if you take the bus to one of our early games. Please let us know how we are doing and how we can improve the process moving forward.
Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and don't forget to submit a question to firstname.lastname@example.org this week.
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