Is this an image we'll get to see this year? (Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics)
Another week gone by, and we're another week closer to the end of the spring non-revenue sports' season, with conference championships just on the horizon for most of the squads and the NCAA championship for the women's gymnastics team kicking off this Friday. It's crunch time and most of our teams are in good position to make a deep postseason run. So, let's take a look at how UCLA's non-revenue teams fared this past week:
- As normal, starting with Coach Al Scates and the #3-ranked men's volleyball team, the team stumbled to a weekend split to end the regular season. Starting the weekend off in Stockton on Friday, the Bruins needed four sets to drop #13-ranked Pacific, 3-1. The Bruins were led with a 14-kill effort by Thomas Amberg, while getting solid games from the usual suspects: Weston Dunlap (10 kills, 3 assists, 1 dig), Kyle Caldwell (7 kills, 43 assists, 7 digs), Gonzalo Quiroga (11 kills, 2 assists, 10 digs), and Jeremy Casebeer (9 kills, 6 digs).
- Despite the strong start to the weekend, on Saturday, the Bruins couldn't keep their momentum going in Palo Alto, getting swept by #5-ranked Stanford, 3-0. While four Bruins (Dunlap, Caldwell, Amberg, Quiroga) notched 7 kills, no one could do better, as UCLA fell in a subpar effort. With the split weekend, the Bruins finish the regular season at 22-7 overall and 16-6 in conference play. As a result, the Bruins find themselves on the outside-looking-in, playing as the #5-seed in the MPSF tournament this upcoming weekend, where they'll square off against #4-seeded UC Irvine. For the season, UCI dropped the Bruins twice (3-1 in January and 3-2 in early March) before UCLA figured the Anteaters out in late March (3-0) to avoid the season sweep.
- The #6-ranked men's tennis team, on the other hand, had no trouble this weekend, sweeping the Bay Area schools in Los Angeles this weekend. Starting on Saturday, the Bruins took on #12-ranked Cal, blasting the Golden Bears to easily win 7-0. In a match that was never close, the Bruins started strong in doubles, sweeping all three matches in mostly dominating fashion (8-3, 8-2, 8-6) to pick up the first point. In singles action, except for a couple of matches, the Bruins easily took care of business, with Clay Thompson, Nick Meister, Dennis Novikov, Marcos Giron, Adrien Puget, and Dennis Mkrtchian all beating their Cal counterparts to complete the total sweep.
- Yesterday, the men's tennis team kept their strong run of form going by demolishing #11-ranked Stanford, 6-1. Once again, the Bruins opened up doubles action with a clean sweep in dominating fashion (8-3, 8-3, 8-3) to pick up the first point. In singles action, every Bruin who beat a Cal Golden Bear picked up a win over their Stanford opponent, except for Clay Thompson, who fell in a tight 6-4, 6-4 match to Stanford's Bradley Klahn. Klahn's win was the only bright spot for the Cardinal, who otherwise got manhandled at the L.A. Tennis Center. With the pair of weekend wins, the Bruins now stand at 20-2 overall on the year and 6-0 in Pac-12 play.
- Turning to the women's side, the #1-ranked women's tennis team succumbed to the Friday the 13th jinx, picking up their first loss of the season in a surprising 4-3 upset against #10-ranked Cal in Berkeley. In an unusual twist for UCLA, the ladies got swept in doubles action, dropping the first point to the Lady Golden Bears. In singles action, the Bruins split the six sets, 3-3, making Cal's opening doubles point crucial. Robin Anderson, Pamela Montez, and Kaitlin Ray were all about to pick up wins, but McCall Jones, Skylar Morton, and Chanelle Van Nguyen weren't able to finish strong, all losing to Cal opponents.
- However, Saturday proved to be a much better day for the ladies as they took on #6-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto. Faced with the daunting prospect of a Stanford team that had not lost at home in over 13 years (yes, the last time Stanford's women's tennis team lost at home was not just 157 matches ago, but in the prior millennium), the Lady Bruins rose to the occasion, bouncing back from their shock loss in Berkeley to beat the Cardinal 5-2. In a tight doubles match, the Bruins managed to pick up two of the three matches to grab the doubles point. In singles action, Anderson, Morton, Van Nguyen, and Ray were all able to drop their Cardinal opponents to give UCLA a solid 5 points and the first win for a visiting team in Palo Alto since 1999. With the weekend split, the ladies find themselves at 21-1 for the season and 8-1 in Pac-12 play.
- In the pool (which is probably getting a lot more pleasant with the weather getting warmer), the #2-ranked women's water polo team picked up a pair of wins this weekend as they get closer to wrapping up the regular season. Starting on Saturday, the ladies took on the #6-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters and pulled out a tough 10-6 victory. Falling behind UCI 2-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Bruins surged back and outscored UCI over the last three quarters (10-4) to notch a solid comeback win. KK Clark led the charge for UCLA picking up an impressive 5 goals while Sarah Orozco picked up a brace. Caitlin Dement was big in goal, grabbing 11 saves for UCLA.
- On Sunday, the Bruins needed a bit of luck to overcome #7-ranked LMU in the second overtime, 7-6. Despite a strong 2-0 start to the match, UCLA fell behind 5-4 after three quarters, but managed to push themselves in to the lead before conceding a last-second goal to LMU to force OT. While KK Clark and Hannah Sebenaler each picked up a brace in regular time to lead the Bruins, it was Orozco who won it for UCLA in OT, putting away the penalty with 2:13 left. Caitlin Dement picked up a dozen saves and LMU failed to convert a penalty shot with 5 seconds left to give UCLA a tight win. With the pair of victories, UCLA now finds itself at 18-2 on the season and will wrap up their regular season against #1-ranked Stanford this upcoming Saturday.
Solid weekend for our non-revenue teams as they head down the home stretch, with postseason action just on the horizon. While Coach Scates team took a small stumble, every other squad looked very strong heading into crunch time. Let's hope that UCLA's 109th (and maybe 110th) national titles are just on the horizon too. We'll need every on to keep pace since Chianti Dan isn't doing us any favors. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and observations on another solid week for our non-revenue sports.