Hopefully, you're enjoying your extra day off on this Labor Day. For those of us in California (apologies to those Bruins in exile), it's another amazing sunny day, so try not to spend too much time cooped up inside. If you do happen to be inside, let's take a quick run-down of the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse, and get you back to the tail-end of your three-day weekend:
- Starting with former UCLA Rose Bowl winning QB (and coach, although we try to forget those years) Rick Neuheisel, the new Pac-12 Network analyst sat down with FM 101 KXL this weekend and shared his thoughts on his new gig, how watching the Bruins play without him was bittersweet, and provides some insight into the coaching experience at UCLA. Glad to see that, despite losing his dream job, Rick is still a classy guy rooting on his Bruins.
- While we're talking about Rick, Larry Brown Sports also took note of a Neuheisel's Twitter feed just after Brett Hundley (Neuheisel's biggest recruiting gem), ran for 72 yards and a touchdown on his first collegiate play. While I don't agree with Larry Brown's snark, you have to admire Rick's enthusiasm for his recruit, but also the class he showed in not wasting Hundley's redshirt year in a desperate attempt to save his job.
- Sticking with football, Peter Yoon at WWL had post-Rice grades for the Bruins, which more-or-less fell in line with our thoughts here at BN. As Yoon noted, the offense was impressive, but the run defense and special teams (duh) are in need of some work. I'd expect Mora will be all over special teams this week in practice: we won't be able to afford those kinds of mistakes against a Nebraska team we should beat if we play smart football.
- Turning to the non-revenue sports, the #11-ranked men's soccer team began the weekend by traveling to College Park to take on #6-ranked Maryland. Despite stumbling out of the gate against New Mexico, the Bruins picked up a good result by coming away with a draw at Maryland, 2-2. The result could have been better, with the Bruins ahead 2-1 behind a ' brace, but Maryland struck in the 68th minute to tie it up, with starting 'keeper Earl Edwards out injured. The Bruins took a short trip south to Charlottesville a few days later, picking up a hard-fought 1-0 road win against Virginia for their first victory of the season. Defender Joe Sofia grabbed the winner in the first overtime (100th minute) to snatch the win for UCLA. The Bruins now stand at 1-1-1 on the year, and will next take on Tulsa on Friday at Drake Stadium.
- Turning to the men's female counterparts, the top-ranked women's soccer team took on #11-ranked Wisconsin at Drake Stadium this weekend, finishing off the Lady Badgers 2-0 to keep their perfect start going strong. In a hard-fought game, the Lady Bruins came on late, with Rosie White scoring the winner in the 78th minute, while Zakiya Bywaters grabbed her second of the year in the 90th minute to seal the win. UCLA now stands at 4-0 and will take on LMU later this week at Drake Stadium.
- After a long year off following their defeat to hated U$C in the NCAA championship game, the #2-ranked men's water polo team is back in the pool, opening their season with a slaughter of #21-ranked Ponoma-Pitzer, 16-5. The Bruins spread around the goals, with a dozen Bruins opening their accounts, with Danny McClintick, David Culpan, Joey Fuentes, and Chris Wendt each grabbing a pair of goals. The Bruins finished their opening day in the afternoon with a beat-down of Cal Baptist, 15-7. Nine Bruins scored, led by Paul Reynolds and Chris Wendt, who each pulled a Robin van Persie (a hat-trick, for the non-United fans out there). Finally, the Bruins closed out their weekend on Sunday, dropping Chapman 15-5 at Spieker Aquatics Center. Despite falling behind early, the Bruins came on strong to win, led by big games from Danny McClintick (4 goals), David Culpan (3 goals), and Josh Samuels (3 goals). The Bruins are off to a perfect start to the year, standing at 3-0. The Bruins will hit the road next week, heading to Princeton for the Princeton Invitational.
- Finally, the defending NCAA champs, the #3-ranked women's volleyball team took on Jiangsu University (China) on Wednesday in an international exhibition, and despite winning the first two sets, the Bruins couldn't put their Chinese counterparts away, falling in five sets, 2-3 (25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 14-25, 10-15). The Bruins got double-digit games from Rachael Kidder (13 kills, 2 digs), Karsta Lowe (12 kills, 3 digs), Tabi Love (14 kills, 5 digs), Megan Moenoa (36 assists, 4 kills, 7 digs), and Becca Strehlow (18 assists, 2 kills, 3 digs). The Lady Bruins got their season back on track on Friday, sweeping Northeastern in three straight sets, 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-21) in their first game of the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. Karsta Lowe led the Bruins (12 kills, 8 digs) while Becca Strehlow (22 assists, 2 kills, 4 digs) and Megan Moenoa (12 assists, 2 digs) had strong games distributing the ball. Finally, the ladies ended their trip at the UCSB Invitational with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19) win over the Lady Gauchos. The Bruins were led by a double-double effort from Karsta Lowe (14 kills, 11 digs), with strong contributions from Rachael Kidder (14 kills), Megan Moenoa (31 assists, 9 digs), Tabi Love (12 kills), Meg Norton (14 digs), Kelly Reeves (11 digs, 3 kills), and Karly Drolson (13 digs, 2 assists). The Bruins now stand at 3-1 and will head out to Hawaii this weekend for the Verizon Volleyball Challenge, starting against Idaho on Friday.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to end the holiday weekend with. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and additions in the comments thread.