Stephanie, thanks for all the great memories and good luck on the LPGA tour. We'll miss you. (Photo Credit: NCAA)
It's December, which means it's time for our fall sports to be in the middle of post-season play. Well, unless you're the women's soccer team, which disappointingly lost to inferior competition early in the NCAA tournament. Or, the football team: oh wait, Chianti Dan got his back-door waiver approved, so UCLA will get the "honor" of playing in another joke bowl game (read: the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl) against fellow no-coach wonders the Fighting Illini of Illinois, being played at AT&T Park in San Francisco (bonus for Dan: Napa is just a short drive away!).
Since the football head coaching search continues to be an epic joke and a total fail by Chianti Dan, marked by stupid missteps that demonstrate no clue when it comes to college football, let's take a look at how our non-revenue sports fared this past week. After all, we need something to distract us from Chianti Dan's bumbling stupidity.
- Yesterday, we had a special open thread for our men's water polo team, which was facing top-ranked U$C in the NCAA championship game (being played in Berkeley nonetheless), as part of UCLA's quest for national title #108. Unfortunately, the 108th blue-and-gold banner will have to wait, as U$C dropped the Bruins 7-4, repeating their 2009 defeat of UCLA in the same final. Kudos to and his squad for a solid season, albeit it one that once again came up just short to our cross-town rival. Next year, we'll be expecting the same level of success, although Adam's third chance in a final game should be the charm.
- Turning to men's soccer, Jorge Salcedo's side finally got a measure of revenge against the Louisville Cardinals, avenging both their early season loss to the Cardinals as well as last year's NCAA tournament loss to Louisville, dropping a tough Cardinals team 1-0 in double over-time. In a tough match that the Cardinals could have won, had they shot a bit better when given the opportunity, UCLA grabbed the winner in the 102nd minute through a goal. With the victory, the Bruins advance to the College Cup, ironically being played in UCLA star forward Chandler Hoffman's old stomping grounds just outside Birmingham, Alabama. Once the Bruins arrive down south, they'll face top-seeded UNC in the NCAA semi-final match this upcoming Friday.
- Sticking with NCAA tournament action, the ninth-seeded women's volleyball team got their post-season off to a good start, routing Maryland Eastern Shore in the first round, 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-9). Led (again) by Rachael Kidder with 11 kills, 5 digs, and 3 blocks (her 15th consecutive game with double-figure kill numbers), the Bruins never gave the Lady Hawks a chance, with Lainey Gera contributing 13 digs and Lauren Van Orden notching 28 assists and 3 kills. Complete victory for the women, who must now turn their attention to Penn State in the regional semi-final in Lexington, Kentucky, set for this upcoming Friday.
- Speaking of the women's volleyball team, six Lady Bruins were named to All-Pac-12 squads, led by (none other than) Rachael Kidder being named first-team all-conference. Joining Kidder is Kelly Reeves, while Lainey Gera, Lauren Van Orden, and Tabi Love all received honorable mentions, with Zoe Nightingale rounding out the honors by making the all-freshman team. Congrats ladies!
- Going over to our top-ranked women's golf team, the ladies will be starting their spring program without one of their best players, as senior three-time All-American Stephanie Kono earned her LPGA tour card and will be turning pro. Kono, the definition of an outstanding student-athlete, tied for ninth in the LPGA qualifying tournament in Daytona Beach, earning her spot on the upcoming 2012 tour. Congratulations to Stephanie, although we'll miss having her in Westwood.
- Unlike their male counterparts, the women's basketball team had no problem putting early season inferior competition down, dropping San Diego State 78-71 at the Wooden Center this past Wednesday. The ladies were led by a pair of twenty-point efforts by Rebekah Gardner (20 points, 8 rebounds) and Atonye Nyingifa (21 points, 11 rebounds). Cori Close's squad followed up Wednesday's win with a Sunday match against Loyola Marymount, and unlike Ben Howland's Dumpster Fire squad, the Lady Bruins had no trouble slaughtering the Lady Lions, putting it away 84-43 at LMU. The Bruins got a monster game from Antonye Nyfingifa, who notched another double-double (28 points, 14 rebounds), and spread the scoring around, getting double-figure scoring from four different players (Thea Lemberger, Mariah Williams, Rebekah Gardner, and Moriah Faulk). With the pair of wins, Cori Close's team improves to 5-2 overall, but face a stiff test on Tuesday, as they travel to Baton Rouge to take on former UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell and her LSU Lady Tigers.
Alright folks, that's your non-revenue roundup for the past week. Good week for the men's soccer and women's volleyball teams, who each got one step closer to bringing blue-and-gold title banner #108 back to Westwood. Unfortunately, the bitter taste of defeat to U$C in the national title game will linger for some time, but hopefully the men's water polo team can use it as drive to re-claim the title next season.
But, despite some good results this week, given the abject disappointment we're seeing in some programs (women's soccer, for example), we have to keep our eye on the ultimate prize to do right by our student athletes: wholesale regime change in Westwood, meaning Dan Guerrero must be fired.
Fire away with your thoughts, takes, analysis, and opinions in the comment thread.