It's winter, which means we're all waiting in limbo between the end of Coach Jim Mora's football season and the beginning of Coach John Savage's baseball season on February 14, with only football's National Signing Day on February 5 really breaking up the lull. What about men's basketball, you ask? If you missed yesterday's post, it seems like I'm not the only one who is tuning out until human scumbag Steve Alford is given a pink slip. Fortunately, we have some good non-revenue action to hold us over until our most recent champions return to the diamond on February 14. So with that said, here are your various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with the #6-ranked men's volleyball team, the Bruins began their weekend hosting #1-ranked Stanford on Friday at Pauley, and as you would expect between two of the nation's top teams, the match did not disappoint, with the Bruins dropping the Cardinal in a thrilling five-set match, 3-2 (23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 29-31, 15-11). The Bruins were led by none other than Robart Page, who notched a career-high 26 kills (to go with 9 digs) while Gonzalo Quiroga notched 19 kills and 9 digs to help the Bruins to a huge conference victory for Coach John Speraw. The Bruins went right back to action the next day, and easily took care of business against the Pacific Tigers, winning 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-18). Page (14 kills) and Quiroga (13 kills) once again led UCLA, which now stands at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. The Bruins won't have a long rest, hosting UC Santa Barbara this upcoming Tuesday at Pauley.
- Flipping over to the #6-ranked women's gymnastics team, the Lady Bruins hosted #14-ranked Oregon State at Pauley on Sunday, and they picked up their first win of the year, dropping the Beavers 196.425-195.625, led by an outstanding performance from senior Sydney Sawa (9.950 on vault, 9.850 on uneven bars, 9.975 on the floor exercise). The Bruins took command at home, taking the top score on each routine, with Sawa finishing top on vault (9.950), Sophina DeJesus finishing top on the uneven bars (9.950), Danusia Francis leading on the balance beam (9.925), and Sawa finishing nearly perfectly on the floor exercise (9.975). The Bruins are now 1-1 on the year and will next be in action against Utah this upcoming Saturday in Salt Lake City.
- Turning to the #3-ranked women's water polo team, the Lady Bruins had a busy weekend, hosting the UCLA Invitational in Westwood at Spieker Aquatics Center. Beginning on Saturday, the Bruins opened their tourney with a 25-6 beat-down of Concordia, giving Coach Brandon Brooks his 100th career victory in the process. Freshman Mackenzie Barr made an impressive debut, notching four goals, with Danielle Ferraro, Emily Donohoe, and Becca Dorst all picking up hat-tricks in the process. In the second match of the day, the Lady Bruins easily dispatched Cal Baptist, 15-4, with Donohoe picking up her second hat trick of the day to lead the Bruins.
- But two games on Saturday wasn't enough for the Lady Bruins, and then kept their short tourney run going on Sunday, picking up two more wins on Sunday, beginning with a 14-3 thumping of Cal State Bakersfield. Donohoe, Ferraro and India Forster each notched a brace to lead the Bruins. Finally, to close out the invitational, the Bruins took care of business against local opponent Loyola Marymount, 15-6 with sophomore Rachel Fattal leading UCLA with a hat-trick. With the tourney wins, the Lady Bruins opened their season at 4-0 and they'll next be in action next weekend in the UCSB Winter Invitational.
- Dropping in on the #5-ranked women's tennis team, the Lady Bruins will open the official season against UC Santa Barbara in Westwood on Tuesday. And in case you missed it, leading the Bruins will be junior Robin Anderson, who was recently named the #1-ranked college women's player in both singles and doubles.
- Finally, turning to the unranked women's hoops team, the Lady Bruins took on the Oregon Ducks at Pauley on Friday, falling behind to the Ducks, but came storming back at the end to win 88-83. Led by a huge double-double by Atonye Nyingifa (34 points, 10 rebounds), with big games from Thea Lemberger (25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists), Nirra Fields (19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals) and a solid night from center Corinne Costa (8 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks), the Lady Bruins got back to .500 on the year, standing now at 9-9 overall and 3-3 in conference play. The women will try to stay about .500 today against Oregon State at Pauley.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to kick off this holiday Monday morning. Fire away in the comment section with your thoughts, additions, or other bits of UCLA-related news.