It's Monday and we're finally in the doldrums known as the college football off-season. So, while we get to partake in rampant recruiting speculation, coaching carousel intrigue, and tracking Bruins in the NFL (well, the three that are still alive in the playoffs, such as Brendon Ayanbadejo, Bret Lockett, and Matt Slater), we do have a full slate of non-revenue UCLA sports, many of which we're looking strong to win UCLA it's 109th national title.
With that, let's recap how our non-revenue sports fared this past week:
- Starting with Al Scates' final UCLA squad, the #3-ranked men's volleyball team kept their season going strong, picking up three victories in Hawaii in the Outrigger Hotels Invitational tournament and bringing home the hardware as tournament champs. The men got their run to the tournament title started against Lewis University (it's a small Catholic school near Joliet, Illinois), dropping the disgraced 2003 national champs in four sets, 3-1. The Bruins were led by Jeremy Casebeer's career-high 16 kills (plus 5 digs), getting big contributions from Weston Dunlap (12 kills, 3 digs), Kyle Caldwell (45 assists, 5 digs), Gonzalo Quiroga (11 kills, 4 digs), and Evan Mottram (14 digs).
- In the second match, the Bruins took on the Pride of Springfield College (Massachusetts), the school best known as where Naismith invented basketball, and had no problem dispatching Springfield, beating the Pride in a clean sweep, 3-0. In the second match, the Bruins were led by Thomas Amberg's 13 kills (plus team-high 4 digs) and Kyle Caldwell's 34 assists. Consistent point-man Weston Dunlap chipped in 9 kills in a UCLA victory that took them to the tournament title match.
- In the third and final match of the tournament, the Bruins squared off against #13 Hawaii, in what was tantamount to a home match for the Warriors. But despite three close sets, the Bruins took the tournament title with a clean sweep of the Warriors, 3-0. In the title match, once again the Bruins got big games from Jeremy Casebeer (13 kills, 3 digs), Gonzalo Quiroga (11 kills, 7 digs), and Kyle Caldwell (34 assists, 5 digs). With the three wins, the Bruins return to the mainland with a 5-1 overall record.
- Turning to Cori Close's women's basketball squad, in a season that is becoming one to forget, the ladies only had one match over the weekend, taking on hated U$C at the Wooden Center, falling to the Women of Troy 47-43. The Lady Bruins were led by Rebekah Gardner, who scored nearly half of UCLA's points, with 20 points (coupled with 4 rebounds and 2 assists) and Markel Walker (4 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 steals). With 5 seconds remaining and the game on the line and a chance to tie it up, Thea Lemberger came up just short on a jumper, handing the victory to U$C. With the disappointing loss to our hated rivals, the women now stand at 7-9 in the first year of the post-Nikki Caldwell era.
- In women's soccer news, despite a disappointingly short post-season run, the UCLA women's program has something to be proud of: former Bruin star forward Sydney Leroux was the #1 overall draft pick in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) draft, taken by the Atlanta Beat. Leroux should make an instant impact for the woeful Beat, who earned the top pick in the draft with a dreadful 1-13-4 season.
- Likewise, on the men's side, midfield maestro Kelyn Rowe was taken #3 overall in the MLS draft by the New England Revolution, despite efforts from the Seattle Sounders to trade up to land the coveted UCLA midfielder. Kevin McCarthy of the Boston Herald has the post-draft reaction, with quotes from Rowe as well as his new head coach, Jay Heaps. On the flip side, Kelyn's former UCLA teammate, Chandler Hoffman, the prolific frontman who lit up the MLS Combine, fell out of the top ten, landing at #13 overall to the Philadelphia Union, much to the pleasant surprise of Union head coach Peter Nowak.
- Finally, the #1-ranked women's gymnastics team traveled up to Northern California to take on Cal, and unlike their home opener against Utah, the ladies had no problem taking the victory against the Golden Bears, winning 196.675 to 192.55. The story of the match was Vanessa Zamarripa's perfect 10 on the vault, which she followed with the top score on the uneven parallel bars, notching a 9.900. The Bruins swept the vault, taking the top six spots, dominated the uneven parallel bars, took 5 out of the top 6 spots on the balance beam, and grabbed 4 out of the top 6 spots on the floor exercise to run out to a comfortable win. And, once again, UCLA's Samantha Peszek finished with the top all-around score of 39.450, edging out Cal's Mariesah Pierce's 39.150. With the victory, the top-ranked women are now 2-0 on the season.
And with that, that is your non-revenue roundup for this past week. Another bad weekend for Cori Close as her squad struggles to find consistency and reach .500 for the season, but a great weekend for the men's volleyball and women's gymnastics squads.
Fire away with your thoughts, comments, additions, or analysis in the thread.