It's been a long week for the Bruins. First, Chianti Dan Guerrero, our lazy, incompetent athletic director, managed to completely bungle the football head coaching search (and if you think I say this with my BN-jaundiced glasses, Pre-Snap Read has an awesome post that just echos everything we've been saying on BN about Chianti Dan being a complete joke), saddling us with another NFL retread with zero college coaching experience who openly admits he will be learning on the job, which is nothing short of Chianti Dan and Gene Block giving the UCLA fan-base a symbolic middle finger.
Of course, Chianti Dan's mismanagement and the diseased culture of mediocrity he has fostered at Morgan Center has managed to spread past the football program and into the basketball program, the program built by a legend, an icon, a man who was the polar opposite of the chianti-swilling, pompous, self-interested bureaucrat we have for an athletic director.
And if that wasn't bad enough, the complete failure of Morgan Center to make sure our football players, getting ready for not just finals, but for a bowl game on December 31, the very basic amenities, like hot water for a shower or the financial assistance they are entitled to, so you know, they can do things like eat. I'm sure recruits love hearing about things like that: how UCLA's malaise is so widespread that once they bring you in, they'll subject you to sub-par facilities (for example, a 80 yard practice field), and leave you, literally, out in the cold and hungry.
So, since it's been a bad week (well, a bad decade really) to be a Bruin fan, let's take a look at how our non-revenue programs fared this past week after the jump. As I said last week, it's always nice to find any distraction to the gross mismanagement of our athletic department by Chianti Dan.
- Let's start with our men's soccer team, which had a special open thread for their NCAA semi-final match against the North Carolina Tar Heels in Birmingham, Alabama, as part of their quest for national title #108 for UCLA. Unfortunately, Jorge Salcedo's squad came up just short, losing 3-1 in penalty kicks. The Bruins took the lead through Ryan Hollingshead in the 17th minute, and through key saves by Brian Rowe, took a 1-0 lead into the half. However, North Carolina struck back first in the second half, equalizing in the 56th minute. However, the Bruins put themselves back in front in the 74th minute through Kelyn Rowe, with a key assist by Chandler Hoffman. But, the Bruins again failed to defend the lead, letting the Tar Heels equalize in the 85th minute. After extra time, the Bruins found themselves in penalty kicks, where they ultimately fell short, falling 3-1. So, once again, the quest for the first men's national title since 2008 has eluded UCLA.
- Despite the disappointing end to the season, numerous individual Bruins on Jorge Salcedo's squad are set up to take their game to the professional level and are collecting the post-season accolades. Among those Bruins is senior goalkeeper Brian Rowe and junior forward Chandler Hoffman, who were named second team and third team All-American, respectively.
- With women's soccer, men's water polo, and now men's soccer eliminated from post-season play, UCLA's hopes for a fall national title fall squarely on the shoulders of Coach Michael Sealy and his #9-seeded women's volleyball team, which found themselves square in the middle of the NCAA tournament. But, unlike their Bruin counterparts, the ladies did not wilt in NCAA competition, picking up a pair of huge wins. On Friday, the ladies faced off against the four-time defending champions, the #8-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions in the regional semi-final in Lexington, Kentucky. The Nittany Lions have brought national titles back to Happy Valley every year since 2007 and looked to extend their consecutive title run to five this year. However, Rachael Kidder, who has been phenomenal this year, and Kelly Reeves stood in their way, leading the Lady Bruins to a huge upset, sweeping the champions out of the tournament, 3-0. Kidder led the Bruins with 15 kills, Reeves picked up a double-double (11 kills, 11 digs), Lauren Van Orden notched 43 assists and 8 digs, while also getting help from the usual suspects: Lainey Gera (15 digs), Tabi Love (7 kills), and Zoe Nightingale (4 kills).
- The ladies went right back into action on Saturday in the regional final against top-seeded Texas, and they did not disappoint, dropping the Lady Longhorns 3-1 to advance to the NCAA national semi-final against #12-seeded Florida State next weekend in San Antonio. Against a very good Texas team, the Bruins were once against led by Rachael Kidder, who was named Regional Most Outstanding Player, with 26 kills and 3 digs. Kidder had huge contributions from across the board, getting big games from Lauren Van Orden (57 assists, 5 digs, 3 blocks), Tabi Love (18 kills), Lainey Gera (22 digs), Kelly Reeves (who narrowly missed another double-double with 9 kills and 14 digs), and key contributions from underclassmen Mariana Aquino (5 kills, 4 blocks) and Zoe Nightingale (5 kills, 3 blocks). With the regional in hand, the ladies now head to San Antonio, where they will take on #12-seeded Florida State on Thursday, with the winner getting the winner of the Illinois vs. U$C semi-final in the national title game on Saturday.
Alright folks, that's your non-revenue roundup for the past week. Disappointing and heart-breaking stuff for the men's soccer team, who will surely lose their top goal-scorer next year, but outstanding weekend for the women's volleyball team, who took a huge step toward the goal of bringing blue-and-gold title banner #108 back to Westwood
Another fall where our men's team fail to bring home NCAA hardware (no men's titles since 2008), which is just more fuel for the fire on why we need wholesale regime change in Westwood. It's time that Chianti Dan be shown the door before he irreparably ruins UCLA athletics.
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