Fortunately for us, not every UCLA team has fared as poorly as our football squad the past two weeks, as our battered Bruin football team returns from Eugene, returning to Westwood with far more questions about whether this coaching staff and team can take the next step into being an elite program, or whether we'll continue to struggle through Donahue-esque mediocrity. Colorado's hapless Buffaloes come to the Rose Bowl this Saturday, and anything less than a dominating, blow-out win will be seen as a failure - remember when we said the same thing about not slaughtering the toothless Berkeley Bears, which foreshadowed our stuttering offensive woes against the Trees and Ducks? While we wait to find out how Mora's team responds to back-to-back losses, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the non-revenue sports related UCLA-iverse:
- Beginning with the #2-ranked women's soccer team, UCLA began their weekend road trip to the mountain schools with a 1-1 tie against Utah in Salt Lake City. Despite falling behind to the Utes early (18'), the Lady Bruins took little time to equalize, with Taylor Smith burying her third of the year just five minutes later (23') thanks to a beautiful pass from Sarah Killion. Despite being on the road, the Lady Bruins controlled the match, pounding the Utes' goal (outshooting Utah 23-5), but was unable to find a winner, despite going to double OT. The Bruins then made their way to Boulder on Sunday, where they escaped with a 1-0 road win over Colorado, thanks to a few amazing saves by 'keeper Katelyn Rowland, with the winner coming, once again, due to another head's up through ball by Sarah Killion, this time to Kodi Lavrusky (56'). With the undefeated road trip, the Lady Bruins are now 14-1-2 overall and 6-0-1 in Pac-12 play and will return home to finish out the regular season against the Oregon schools and hated Southern Cal.
- Turning to their male counterparts, the #4-ranked men's soccer team began their weekend set at home against Oregon State on Friday, and despite playing a team without a conference win, the Bruins couldn't find a winner, tying the Beavers 1-1. The Bruins started out strong, scoring from a corner, through a strong header by Aaron Simmons (7'), and outshooting Oregon State 7-1 in the first half. But the Beavers would keep fighting back, and grabbed a late equalizer (89') with just a minute and a half left in the match, raising questions about UCLA's inability to close out games late. The Bruins finished their home slate against #3-ranked Washington on Sunday, pulling out a huge 2-1 victory, thanks to some sloppy Washington defending and a bit of luck for UCLA. Washington put UCLA on its heels early, with the Bruins needing not one, but two, amazing clearances off the line from defender Patrick Matchett in the third minute. Despite that, the Bruins were the ones to open the scoring, netting through Victor Chavez (19') on a nice assist from Jordan Vale, but the Huskies fought back scoring the equalizer (42') just before the intermission. The Bruins would take the lead for good due to some really poor Husky defending and miscommunication, with the Bruins capitalizing on a defensive turnover deep in Husky territory to grab the winner through Gage Zerboni's header (70'). With the win, the Bruins are now 8-3-4 overall and 3-1-3 in Pac-12 play. The Bruins will hit the road to end the regular season, heading to the Bay Area to take on Berkeley and Stanford, before finishing the year in San Diego against the Aztecs.
- As for the unranked women's volleyball team, the Bruins' weekend did not start well, with #3-ranked Washington coming to Pauley Pavilion and taking care of business, dropping UCLA 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 13-25). Karsta Lowe was once against one of the few bright spots, leading with 21 kills, with help from Maddy Klineman (11 kills) and Megan Moenoa (44 assists), but it was too little against the Huskies. Fortunately for UCLA, the weekend wasn't a complete sweep, as the Lady Bruins dropped visiting Washington State 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-19, 25-16) on Sunday. Once again, Lowe led the way (22 kills, 8 digs), Klineman again found double figures (15 kills, 6 digs), Mariana Aquino also notched 10 kills, and Moenoa against dished out 52 assists (picking up 11 digs as well). With the split weekend, the Lady Bruins are now 12-8 overall and next be in action this weekend in the Bay Area against Stanford and then Berkeley.
- Finally, turning to the #2-ranked men's water polo team, the Bruins got their first conference win of the year by slaughtering #8-ranked UC Irvine on Friday, 18-5. UCLA came out strong, taking an early 6-2 advantage after one quarter and finished strong, outscoring the Anteaters 6-0 in the final quarter to come away with a big win, led by Aimone Barabino's hat trick. Sunday's match would prove much more difficult for UCLA, with #3-ranked Pacific coming down from Stockton to Westwood, but using a strong second-half comeback, UCLA pulled out a narrow 12-10 win. The Tigers took the early advantage, leading 7-5 at half, but the Bruins shaved the Tigers' lead to 1 in the third quarter, before a dominating fourth quarter (4-1) led to the Bruins grabbing the win, with Cristiano Mirarchi's third goal of the night proving to be the eventual winner. Mirarchi's hat trick led UCLA, along with Danny McClintick's hat trick, as the Bruins improve to 21-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The Bruins will next host the Berkeley Bears and Concordia this upcoming Friday.
Alright folks, those are your non-revenue sports related bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned as we switch back into full-blown football mode as our Bruins gear up for this weekend's game against Colorado at the Rose Bowl. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, opinions, etc. as we get ready for Saturday.