Is this an image we'll see at the conclusion of this year's women's tennis season? (Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics)
It's Monday and with football's national letter of intent signing day just on the horizon (this upcoming Wednesday), it feels like most of our time is dedicated to following the rampant recruiting speculation and updates. Don't worry folks, we'll get back to all of that shortly. For now, let's take a few minutes to take a look at how our non-revenue Bruins fared this past week.
- Starting with Coach Al Scates' #3-ranked squad (when you hang 19 title banners in Westwood in a 50 year career, you earn the right to always be the lead story), the men's volleyball team continues to be hot, picking up a pair of 3-0 wins this week. On Wednesday, the men got it started against #9-ranked Cal State Northridge, dropping the Matadors 3-0 in a one hour display of pure dominance (set scores were 25-18, 25-15, and 25-12). The Bruins were led by Jeremy Casebeer's 13 kills, with Weston Dunlap and Gonzalo Quiroga each chipping in with 7 kills. Kyle Caldwell had another solid performance, notching 32 assists and 8 digs. The Bruins had no problem with the Matadors, putting up 13.5 blocks, compared to CSUN's zero (yes, zero) blocks.
- The men followed up Wednesday's beat-down of CSUN by dropping #15-ranked UC Santa Barbara at the Wooden Center by the score of 3-0. With the win, the Bruins picked up their sixth consecutive shutout. In the victory, the Bruins got big games from Jeremy Casebeer (again, although this time with only 10 kills), Weston Dunlap (8 kills), Kyle Caldwell (7 kills, 28 assists, 8 digs), and Gonzalo Quiroga (7 kills, 4 digs). From the dominating form the Bruins are showing, it's clear that Al Scates and his squad have one goal in mind: sending the legendary coach out on top with, what we hope, will be UCLA's 109th national title. On the year, the men now stand at 9-1 overall and a perfect 4-0 in conference play.
- Turning to the #1-ranked women's gymnastics squad, the Bruins finally faltered, coming up short against #22-ranked Washington in Seattle on Friday. The ladies fell 194.600 to 195.350, in what will get marked down as a absolutely massive upset victory for the Lady Huskies. Despite good results on the vault (Bruins grabbing 4 out of the top 6 spots, with Vanessa Zamarripa leading with 9.925), the ladies couldn't put together the kind of dominating performance we've seen from them before, having an unusually poor night on the uneven bars, and more-or-less splitting the balance beam and floor exercise with the Huskies. With the uncharacteristic poor loss, the ladies now stand at 3-1 on the year.
- For Coach Cori Close and the women's basketball team, this weekend provided much better results, despite being on the road. The ladies got their weekend trip to the mountain states started in Salt Lake City, picking up a tough 65-60 win over the Utes, despite only having seven players in uniform (freshman Kacy Swain was suspended for the game for an unspecified violation of team rules). Despite being shorthanded, the Lady Bruins got it done, led by none other than Markel Walker and her double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds to go along with 4 steals). Leading the Bruins in scoring was Mariah Williams, who picked up a career-high 21 points, in large part due to her hot hand from downtown (3-4 from three-point land). Rebekah Gardner notched 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals, while Thea Lemberger had a solid game with 13 points and 6 assists.
- Following their tough, late victory over Utah, the women got back into action against Colorado, and again needed a late game surge to pull out a victory, beating the Buffaloes 62-54 in overtime. Once again, Markel Walker was the key, picking up another double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds). Coach Close got excellent effort up-and-down the roster, with Thea Lemberger (13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals), Corinne Costa (10 rebounds, 4 blocks), and Rebekah Gardner (17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) all having solid games. With the pair of road wins, the women finally got back to the .500 mark, now standing at 10-10 on the season and 5-4 in Pac-12 play.
- With winter slowly beginning to fade (especially down in Southern California), the #4-ranked women's tennis team got their 2012 season underway this past Wednesday, making short-work of the UC Irvine Anteaters 7-0 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The ladies, with freshmen filling four of the six single spots, did not disappoint and never had trouble, getting a clean sweep in every match-up.
- Coach Stella Sampras Webster (yes, she's the sister to that Pete Sampras) and her squad got back in action on Friday, in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, dropping Utah 4-1. The Bruins had no trouble dominating doubles, and picked up singles victories from super freshman Robin Anderson, as well as Pamela Montez, Skylar Morton, Kaitlin Ray, and Chanelle Van Nguyen.
- With the victory over Utah, the ladies next turned their attention to St. Mary's, putting the Gaels down 4-0 in the second round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The Bruins, as they did against UC Irvine, dominated, picking up victories in every doubles and singles match. As a result, Coach Sampras Webster's team grabbed one of the sixteen spots in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Tournament in mid-February. With the three wins, the ladies' season is off to the right foot, starting 3-0.
- Finally, this past week (well, week and a half since the men's tennis squad wasn't covered in last week's non-revenue roundup), saw the return of Coach Billy Martin's #9-ranked men's tennis squad. The men got their 2012 campaign started with an easy 6-1 victory over BYU back on January 20. By sweeping the doubles matches and only losing one out of six singles matches, the Bruins had no trouble over the Cougars, getting their season off to the right kind of start.
- Following their opening win, the men next took on UC Irvine this past Tuesday, and like their female counterparts, had no trouble dismantle the Anteaters, winning 7-0. Although the Bruins dropped out of of the three doubles matches, UCLA grabbed a clean 6-0 sweep in singles action, to make sure they took all the points.
- This past weekend, like their female counterparts, the men swept the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, beginning with a 4-0 drubbing of Alabama on Saturday. The Bruins had no problem with the Crimson Tide, picking up every match on both the doubles and singles' side. The men then took on the Fresno State Bulldogs on Sunday in the second round, and like the first round, UCLA had no trouble, sweeping Fresno State 4-0. So, like the ladies, the men's tennis team will be heading to Virginia to take part in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Tournament in mid-February. With the perfect 4-0 start, the men won't be in action again until Super Bowl weekend, taking on the Bay Area schools up north.
And with that, that is your non-revenue roundup for this past week. A disappointing weekend for our ladies' gymnastics team, which hopefully will just be a minor hiccup on the path to grabbing another NCAA title for Westwood. Otherwise, a great weekend for the men's volleyball team, which has just been absolutely dominating, and for Coach Close's ladies' hoops squad, whose struggles for consistency will surely be helped with a big road sweep. And, of course, that doesn't even take into account the return of both men's and women's tennis, both opening strong, as multiple Bruin squads look to bring home more national title banners to our beloved alma mater.
Fire away with your thoughts, comments, additions, or analysis in the thread.