Another Tuesday, another day far removed from football action. And this upcoming week won't offer any easy answers for our Bruins, especially following last week's lackadaisical, sloppy performance against a pathetic Berkeley squad. Did they start to buy into their own hype and fall into a trap game against a horrible team? You bet. Fortunately, the Bears are so bad, the Bruins were able to walk away with a 27 point win without any real effort or execution. So I suppose that's worth something. Let's see if these guys are able to get up and avenge last year's loss in Palo Alto, or if they'll get smashed by the Cardinal.
And while we wait for this Saturday, we fortunately have a handful of other UCLA squads in action, staying busy, with a couple looking like serious contenders for a deep post-season run. So, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of non-revenue sports related news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Beginning with Jorge Salcedo's inconsistent #6-ranked men's soccer team, the Bruins got their weekend schedule off with a narrow 1-0 win over Stanford on Thursday. The Bruins were unable to find a way through for most of the match, but scored at the death, with Aaron Simmons grabbing his first goal of the year and the winner in the 89th minute. On Saturday, however, the Bruins weren't as fortunate, losing to the #1-ranked Golden Bears from Berkeley, 3-2 in OT. The Bruins opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Victor Chavez's fifth goal of the year, and took a 2-1 advantage into the locker room at half, with Jordan Vale netting in the 42nd minute. However, UCLA shot itself in the foot, with the Bears scoring from a 25-yard free kick in the 18th minute and grabbing the tying goal in the 76th minute on a PK following a handball in the box by freshman Nathan Smith. Berkeley wasted no time in OT, wit Stefano Bonomo grabbing his fifth of the year just 32 seconds into OT. With the split results, the Bruins now stand at 7-3-1 overall and 2-1-0 in Pac-12 play, and will head to Oregon State in Corvallis on Friday.
- As for their female counterparts, the #2-ranked women's soccer team fared much better against the Bay Area schools, beginning with a thrilling 2-1 double overtime victory over #5-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto. The Lady Bruins struck first, scoring through Jenna Richmond in the 62nd minute, but the Cardinal would grab a late equalizer in the 89th minute to send the match into OT. After a scoreless first overtime, Lauren Kaskie scored a beauty from the top of the box in the 106th minute to give UCLA a huge road win. Saturday wasn't much easier, but the Lady Bruins got the result, dropping the #8-ranked Golden Bears, 1-0, in Berkeley. With Katelyn Rowland seeing little action in goal (the Lady Bears only put two shots on frame), the Bruins had the run of play, but only got the one goal through Sarah Killion in the 27th minute. Fortunately, it was more than enough to earn a big road sweep in the Bay Area. With the wins, the Lady Bruins are now 12-1-1 overall and 4-0-1 in Pac-12 play, and will next be in action against Arizona State in Westwood on Friday.
- Turning to our struggling #23-ranked women's volleyball team, the Lady Bruins continued to struggle, beginning on Friday in Eugene, falling to the #22-ranked Oregon Ducks, 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 17-25, 23-25). Despite winning the opening set and being led by Kelly Reeves' double-double (14 kills, 18 digs), with help from Karsta Lowe's 10 kills and Haley Lawless's dozen kills, the Lady Bruins just couldn't overcome the Ducks. Saturday was marginally better, with the Bruins being taken to the limit by the unranked Oregon State Beavers and escaping with a close 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-11) victory. Lowe led the Bruins with 18 kills, with only Claire Felix (14 kills) joining her in double digits. With the split weekend decision, the struggling Lady Bruins are now 10-6 overall and will next take on the Arizona schools in the desert this weekend.
- Flipping over to the national-title contending #1-ranked men's water polo team, the previously undefeated Bruins were in action this weekend at the Southern California Invitational at Irvine and got things off to a strong start on Saturday, beginning with a 23-2 demolition of Pomona-Pitzer, with the Bruins rushing out to a six goal advantage after just one quarter, and overall led by four Bruins grabbing hat tricks (Lovre Milos, Paul Reynolds, Cristiano Mirarchi, Chris Fahlsing). Following the big win, the Bruins took on #9-ranked host UC Irvine, and made easy work of it, winning 12-3 to advance to the tourney semi-final, led by a Ryder Roberts' hat trick. On Sunday, the semi-final required more work, but the Bruins survived and advanced by dropping #4-ranked Stanford 10-5 to advance to the final against #2-ranked Southern Cal. But the final is where the undefeated season finally came to an end, with our Bruins finally falling in double-overtime to the hated Trojans, 12-11. Danny McClintick and Lucas Reynolds led the Bruins with a brace each, but it wasn't enough as the Trojans mounted a strong comeback in the fourth quarter to tie it all up at 11. After a defensive battle in the first OT period, the Trojans finally broke through in the second OT, giving them the Southern California Invitational title and likely the #1-ranking . . . for now.
- Finally, the #1-ranked women's golf team was in action this past week, grabbing its second team title on Tuesday, winning the Betsy Rawls Invitational in Austin, Texas by a solid six-shot margin, after winning the Mason Rudolph Invitational in Nashville the prior month. The Lady Bruins will next be in action later this month in Palo Alto at the Stanford Invitational, where they'll look to make it three straight team wins.
Alright folks, those are your non-revenue sports related bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this Tuesday evening. Stay tuned as we switch back into full-blown football mode as our Bruins gear up for this weekend's game in Palo Alto. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, opinions, etc. as we get ready for Saturday.