UCLA Women's Water Polo Looks Ahead to 2013
Jan. 9, 2013
After finishing third in the nation one year ago, the UCLA women's water polo looks to open its 2013 season on the right foot, albeit away from home. The Bruins' early schedule features some difficult matchups, including tournaments on three successive weekends away from Westwood, but head coach Brandon Brooks' team is prepared.
"In these instances, we rely on the players that have been here before to set an example for the younger players," Brooks said. "We expect a true team effort in the early going, with as many as 14 to 15 players contributing significant minutes."
The Bruins will return several key contributors from last season's team and must absorb the departures of key scorers KK Clark, Sarah Orozco and Hannah Sebenaler and veteran goalkeeper Caitlin Dement. Junior Becca Dorst, who scored 27 goals last spring, is UCLA's top returning scorer in 2013.
UCLA opens its season at the Michigan Invitational on the weekend of Jan. 19-20. The Bruins will face San Diego State and the host Wolverines on Saturday, before meeting Colorado State and Indiana the following day.
"These matches are all good tests for us and will certainly test our depth, which is a good thing that early in the season," Brooks said.
The following weekend, UCLA will travel up the California coast to compete in the Santa Barbara Invitational. Again, the Bruins will have four matches in about 48 hours, this time against UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge and an opponent to be determined.
"We should see some improvement in our team from the first week to the second, that is certainly the goal of playing in those two events," Brooks said.
UCLA will again head North the weekend of Feb. 2-3, this time for its biggest test of the young season at the Stanford Invitational. The Bruins will face Hawaii, California and Indiana at Stanford, with their final match to be decided by how the Bruins play in their first three contests that weekend.
After 12 games on the road over six days across different time zones, Brooks says his team will be ready for the rigors of the remainder of the season and any postseason play.
"This year's NCAA Championships are at Harvard, and we need to be ready to play three hard games in three days in that setting. We should be ready, based on what we do over the first three weekends."
Following the Stanford Invitational, the Bruins will open their home schedule on Saturday, Feb. 9, against Cal Baptist. UCLA's conference schedule begins March 2 on the road at Arizona State.
The Bruins will welcome California, Cal State Bakersfield and USC to Spieker Aquatics Center for home MPSF contests this season. UCLA's conference road games feature trips to Arizona State, San Jose State and Stanford. Former MPSF foes San Diego State and Hawaii now compete as members of the Big West Conference.
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