Can Markel Walker lead the Lady Bruins with Atonye Nyingifa down for the season? (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)
With most of our fall sports already wrapped up (with men's soccer and men's water polo falling just short of a national title, women's soccer taking a very premature exit in post-season play) and UCLA's 108th national title in the books thanks to Coach Michael Sealy and the women's volleyball team, it's been a quiet week for the non-revenue sports. The only team in action was our women's basketball team, and suffice to say it wasn't a good week for Coach Cori Close's squad.
So with that in mind, we'll keep it short and get you right to your non-revenue roundup for this past holiday week:
- Before turning to women's basketball, our men's soccer team will officially lose top goal-scorer Chandler Hoffman to MLS, as he signed his Generation Adidas contract a few days before Christmas. Hoffman continues a decade of UCLA players going to MLS while retaining college eligibility as part of MLS's Generation Adidas (formerly known as Project 40 when sponsored by Nike) project, which includes current U.S. men's national team captain and former Bruin great Carlos Bocanegra. For now, UCLA is waiting to see if super sophomore midfielder Kelyn Rowe will join Hoffman and sign a Generation Adidas contract and make the jump to MLS. Either way, we wish the best for both of them.
- Speaking of Chandler Hoffman, MLS caught up with him and did a Q&A with the former Bruin scoring machine. You can catch the full Q&A on the official MLS website here.
- One last soccer note: ESPNLA is counting down the 11 biggest stories in and around Southern Californian soccer this year, and coming in at #8 is a "return to normalcy" with UCLA returning to the NCAA College Cup.
- Turning to the only non-revenue squad in action this past week, Coach Cori Close's program headed to Philadelphia for a City of Brotherly Love doubleheader, starting with Temple last Tuesday. The biggest story for the team is the loss of junior Atonye Nyingifa, who tore her ACL against Tennessee and is now out for the season. In other words, this team went to Philly missing a major contributor and key pieces of the Lady Bruins' squad. Against Temple, despite solid performances from Thea Lemberger (13 points) and Markel Walker (10 points, 8 rebounds), UCLA was unable to keep up with Temple, falling 59-53.
- On the second half of their Philly trip, the ladies took on St. Joseph's on the Thursday before Christmas, and once again, came up just short, losing 64-60. UCLA got a huge second half from Markel Walker (16 points, 9 rebounds), and solid games from Thea Lemberger (12 points, 5 rebounds) and Rebekah Gardner (10 points, 6 rebounds), but it wasn't enough to stop the Lady Hawks. With the pair of losses, Cori Close's squad falls to 5-6 on the season. The ladies will get their Pac-12 conference season underway this upcoming Thursday against Cal at Wooden Center.
- With women's volleyball in the books (and with a lovely NCAA championship trophy), men's volleyball is gearing up to kick their season off. The men will get their season underway with an exhibition match against the University of British Columbia this next Friday at the Wooden Center. They'll follow that up with another exhibition match against the University of Manitoba on Jan. 3, before getting their regular season underway on Jan. 6 against Cal State Northridge in the Santa Barbara Invitational.
- Finally, our women's gymnastics squad, previously picked as the national #1 team in the coaches' preseason poll, were voted the top team in the Pac-12 conference (which should have a been a given in light of the national poll) in the conference coaches' poll. The ladies, who came up just short in the NCAA championship (finished second to Alabama), will have a chance to chase after UCLA's 109th national title this season, which will get underway on Jan. 8 against Utah.
And with that, that is your non-revenue roundup for this past holiday week. Very disappointing week for the women's basketball team, which does not have a bright outlook after losing Nyingifa for the season, but fortunately, we have a lot of non-revenue action about to get underway in January, so stay posted.
Fire away with your thoughts, comments, additions, or analysis in the thread.