Hopefully, this is what we'll be seeing at the end of the season: so far, for the ladies of the pool, it's so good. (Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics)
It's Monday and with the Niners eliminated (thanks to a punt returner that even made Taylor Embree look not-so-bad), all we have left on the football front is the normal rampant recruiting speculation and tracking Bruins in the NFL (well, the two that are still alive and going to the Super Bowl, New England's Bret Lockett and Matt Slater). But, since we're UCLA and we also happen to be pretty good at every other sport we partake in, we do have a lot of other action to take note of.
With that, let's recap how our non-revenue sports fared this past week:
- Starting with Coach Al Scates' #3-ranked men's volleyball squad got conference play started this weekend, starting with the Stanford Cardinal on Friday. The Bruins didn't have too much trouble, sweeping the men from Palo Alto 3-0 to get their conference season started off strong. The Bruins were led by Gonzalo Quiroga's 16 kills, with big contributions from Kyle Caldwell (31 assists) and Jeremy Casebeer (11 digs).
- Coach Scates' men kept up the good work, sweeping Pacific on Saturday, 3-0. Against the Tigers, the Bruins had no trouble and were led by Weston Dunlap (12 kills) and Thomas Amberg (10 kills). Kyle Caldwell once against had a solid night, pitching in with 36 assists, while Jeremy Casebeer also came up big (9 kills, 5 digs), with Evan Mottram picking up 8 digs. With the pair of victories, the #3-ranked men's volleyball team improves to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in MPSF conference play.
- And before we move on away from men's volleyball, let's take a moment to talk about a true coaching legend: Coach Al Scates. The Los Angeles Times profiled the man who has been at the helm in Westwood for 50 (yes, 50) years, who will finally ride off into the sunset after this season. The 19-time national title winning coach is on his quest for his 20th national title in Westwood and UCLA's 109th NCAA championship. Let's keep our fingers crossed, because there would be no better way to send a true legend off than with a title banner returning to Westwood.
- Turning to Coach Cori Close's women's basketball team, once again, it was a weekend of mixed results for the ladies in their first season following the departure of Nikki Caldwell. The ladies got their weekend started on Thursday against the Oregon State Lady Beavers (there's so much I could do with this, but I'll refrain to keep it rated PG), picking up a very solid 69-60 win. Markel Walker had an absolutely huge night, coming one assist short of a triple-double (16 points, 18 rebounds, 9 assists), with UCLA getting a big game from Rebekah Gardner (19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals), and solid contributions from Thea Lemberger (9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists), Rhema Gardner (9 points, 4 rebounds,3 steals), and Corinne Costa (8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists).
- Unfortunately, Coach Close's squad couldn't build on their win over Oregon State, getting smacked around by Oregon at the Wooden Center, 83-62. Rebekah Gardner capped off a big weekend with a huge double-double (22 points, 15 rebounds, plus 6 assists and 3 steals), and Thea Lemberger (18 points), Corinne Costa (10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks) had solid games. Markel Walker went missing on the offensive end of the floor, only coming up with 3 points (but grabbed 12 boards and dished 3 assists). Despite the high-scoring nights for Gardner and Lemberger, Oregon was too much. With the split weekend, the ladies fall to 8-10 on the season and 3-4 in Pac-12 conference competition.
- Turning to Coach Valorie Kondos-Field's #7-ranked (apparently the ladies slid in the rankings from the top spot, despite remaining undefeated) women's gymnastics squad came out firing on Sunday, crushing the San Jose State Spartans at the Wooden Center, 197.575 to 193.200 (the equivalent football score would be something like 63-17). Samantha Peszek picked up another all-around win, finishing ahead of the Spartans' Thomasina Wallace, 39.500 to 39.175. Throughout the competition, the Bruins had an easy time dominating, sweeping the vault (Tauny Frattone led with a 9.950), grabbing 5 out of the top 6 spots on the uneven bars (Aisha Gerber led with 9.900), the balance beam (Peszek led with 9.900), and the floor exercise (Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs led with a 9.950). With the victory, the ladies improve to 3-0 on the year.
- Finally, UCLA welcomed back third-year Coach Brandon Brooks and his #3-ranked women's water polo team this past weekend. The ladies got their weekend started with a pair of matches on Saturday in the Michigan Invitational, starting with a 9-4 victory over Colorado State. Against the Lady Rams, the Bruins were led by hat-tricks from KK Clark and Becca Dorst, while Caitlin Dement picked up 10 saves to shut the door on Colorado State.
- The ladies kept the ball rolling on Saturday, taking down #10-ranked Indiana 10-5 in the evening match. The Hoosiers weren't able to stop KK Clark, who added four goals to her tally, to give her 7 in the opening day of the season. The Bruins also got a brace from Sarah Orozco and Emily Donohoe, with back-up freshman goalkeeper Sarah Wilkey getting her first collegiate action, notching 10 saves.
- The women's water polo team wrapped up the Michigan Invitational on Sunday, picking up a tight 10-8 win over #12-ranked Michigan in the Wolverines' own pool in Ann Arbor. KK Clark was absolutely on fire all weekend, closing it out with another hat-trick against the Wolverines, to run her season tally to 10 in just 3 games over one weekend. The Bruins also got a brace from Sarah Orozco (again) and Kelly Ronimus, while goalkeeper Caitlin Dement had a bit rougher time in the net, picking up just 5 saves, but conceding 8 times. With the clean sweep in Ann Arbor, the ladies start their season off with a perfect 3-0 record.
And with that, that is your non-revenue roundup for this past week. A great weekend for the men's volleyball and women's gymnastics squads, coupled with an awesome debut for the women's water polo team. Sadly, Coach Close's squad continues to struggle to find consistency, something that has been a real theme for UCLA basketball this season, for both the men and women (which is why it's time to let Howland go and axe Guerrero and bring in a real AD who can make a real hoops hire).
Fire away with your thoughts, comments, additions, or analysis in the thread.