It's Monday morning and it's been a busy week for a lot of Bruins, with two teams in invitational tournament action, and the rest in full gear as the winter teams' seasons head down the home stretch and the spring teams ramp up. So, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse, focusing in on some of our non-revenue teams:
--- Beginning with our undefeated and #8-ranked softball team, the Bruins went out to Palm Springs for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic tourney, and after five games in three days, the Lady Bruins return to Westwood still undefeated. Beginning on Friday, the Bruins opened up their tourney with a 3-2 victory over #13-ranked Oklahoma, winning it thanks to a bottom of the seventh walk-off homer by freshman SS Delaney Spaulding (1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI). Ally Carda (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 10 K, 2 BB) went the distance on the hill to pick up the late-inning victory to improve to 6-0 on the year. Saturday would put the Bruins to the test, having to come from behind to win not once, but twice, beginning with a narrow 4-3 win over #16-ranked Missouri, with more late-game heroics: this time, sophomore 3B Mysha Sataraka (1-3, 2 RBI) popped a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh to give UCLA the win. Paige McDuffee (4.0 IP, 3 ER, 1 K) was unable to pick up the victory, but Ally Carda (3.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K) came on in relief and notched another victory. The afternoon game would feature another Bruin comeback after falling behind 4-2 to Maryland, which would eventually end in a 10-5 UCLA victory over the Terps. Sataraka kept her career day going, leading the Bruins with a crushing offensive day (3-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI), while Ally Carda (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 2 BB) picked up her eighth victory of the year, with Jessica Hall (2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 K) coming in to close it out. On Sunday, the Bruins opened up their day with a 6-2 win over #11-ranked Nebraska. Carda (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, 2 BB) picked up her ninth win of the year, with the UCLA offense led by Sataraka's hot bat (2-3, 1 R, 2 RBI). The Lady Bruins closed out the tourney in style yesterday, demolishing New Mexico in a mercy-rule shortened 13-0 beat-down. Jessica Hall (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB) put up a shut-out five innings to pick up her fifth win on the year, while the Bruins at the plate pounded the Lobos, with Carda (1-1, 2 R, 2 RBI), C Brittany Moeai (1-1, 1 R, 4 RBI), and RF Alyssa Tiumalu (3-4, 1 R, 3 RBI) all putting together multiple RBI games. With the five victories in hand, the Bruins now stand at 16-0 on the year and will head down to Lakewood next weekend for the Mayfair Invitational, beginning with a pair of Friday games against Michigan and Long Beach State.
--- Turning to the unranked women's basketball team, the Lady Bruins wrapped up last weekend in style, dismantling the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, 103-83. With Atonye Nyingifa leading all scorers with 34 points to go with 12 rebounds and 4 steals, the Bruins were too much for the Ducks, especially with three other Bruins - Nirra Field (26 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists), Thea Lemberger (21 points, 8 assists), and Corinne Costa (10 points, 6 rebounds) - scoring in double figures. This past weekend wasn't as favorable though, with the Lady Bruins getting swept by the Bay Area schools, beginning with a 77-72 loss to #18-ranked Berkeley on Friday. Fields (30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Nyingifa (22 points, 7 rebounds), and Lemberger (17 points, 5 assists) had high scoring games but it was too little for a much-deeper and balanced Berkeley squad. On Sunday, the result wasn't much better against #4-ranked Stanford, falling 65-56. Fields led the Bruins (24 points, 8 rebounds), but it was far too little with the Cardinal able to limit Nyingifa (7 points, 4 rebounds). With the weekend sweep, the Lady Bruins are now 12-16 on the year and 6-10 in Pac-12 play. They'll next be in action in their final regular season action this weekend at Colorado and Utah.
--- Flipping over to the #9-ranked women's gymnastics team, the story of Saturday's match against #12-ranked Stanford was a perfect 10 on the floor exercise by our own Sydney Sawa, which helped lead the Bruins to a 196.900-196.250 victory over the Cardinal. The Bruins grabbed top spot in each event, except for the uneven parallel bars, but dominated the balance beam, taking the top 5 spots, while Olivia Courtney took the highest all-around score. With the victory, the Bruins are 5-2 overall and will head down to Tucson this Saturday to take on the Mildcats of Arizona.
--- Checking in with the #4-ranked men's tennis team: the Bruins hosted #19-ranked Pepperdine on Saturday and made quick work of the Waves, winning 4-0. UCLA opened up by grabbing the doubles point, followed by singles wins by Karue Sell (6-1, 6-0), Mackenzie McDonald (6-2, 6-1) and Marcos Giron (6-2, 6-3). The Bruins are now at 8-1 on the year and will host #2-ranked Southern Cal tomorrow at the L.A. Tennis Center in Westwood in a huge contest.
--- Turning to their female counterparts, the #2-ranked women's tennis team faced off against #26-ranked Pepperdine on Wednesday, and like their male colleagues, easily swept aside the Waves, winning 7-0. The Bruins opened by easily grabbing the doubles point (8-0, 8-0), before running off singles victories by Kaitlin Ray (6-2, 6-3), Chanelle Van Nguyen (6-2, 6-3), Catherine Harrison (7-5, 6-4), Robin Anderson (6-2, 5-7, (10-7)), Kyle McPhillips (7-6 (1), 2-6, 6-4), and Jennifer Brady (1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5)). On Friday, #4-ranked Berkeley came down to Westwood and the Lady Bruins pulled out a close-fought top-5 victory, winning 4-3. The Bruins came out strong, winning the doubles point easily (6-1, 6-2), but the Bears wouldn't fade easily, trading singles points, with Robin Anderson dropping the first (2-6, 6-3, (6-10)), before Harrison (6-2, 3-6 (13-11)) got UCLA one back, which was followed by McPhillips falling (1-6, 7-5, (11-13)). Fortunately, the Bruins were able to finish strong, with Jennifer Brady (6-1, 7-6 (3)) and Chanelle Van Nguyen (7-6 (6), 6-1) picking up the last two points the Bruins needed to clinch the win. With the pair of wins, the Lady Bruins are now 10-1 on the year and will host St. Mary's this Friday.
--- As for the tall men, the #3-ranked men's volleyball team is up north right now, beginning with a Sunday match against Pacific in Stockton, which the Bruins handled easily, 3-0 (25-15, 28-26, 25-20). Gonzalo Quiroga led UCLA with 15 kills, while freshman Jackson Bantle got his first double-digit kill game, notching 10. With the win, the Bruins are now at 12-3 overall and 9-2 in MPSF action and will be in action this afternoon/early evening in Palo Alto against Stanford.
--- Finally, the #3-ranked women's water polo team went down to Irvine this weekend for the UC Irvine Invitational, beginning with a solid 7-1 victory over #18-ranked San Diego State on Saturday. The Bruins opened up with a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, conceding a consolation goal only in the third quarter, with UCLA's Alex Tielmann getting on the score sheet twice. Saturday afternoon's affair was a bit trickier, but the Lady Bruins managed to find a way through, dropping #13-ranked UCSD, 8-6. The Tritons came out strong and closed the half with a 5-3 advantage, but the Bruins mounted a 5 goal second half effort, grabbing three in the final quarter to notch the victory, with Mackenzie Barr, Emily Donohoe, and Alys Williams all scoring braces to lead the Bruins. With the pair of wins, the Bruins found themselves taking on #2-ranked Stanford on Sunday morning in the tourney semi-final, and the Bruins held on in a high-scoring shoot-out to advance, winning 9-6. UCLA spread the goals around, with seven Bruins on the scoresheet, led by Rachel Fattal and Becca Dorst's pair of braces. Unfortunately, the tournament wouldn't end with a win, as the Bruins came up just short, losing to #1-ranked Southern Cal in double overtime, 6-7. The Bruins took a 2-1 advantage into half, but the Trojans wouldn't go away, forcing the Bruins to score at the end of regulation to force OT. The Bruins took the lead in the first OT period, but couldn't close it out in the second, with the Trojans grabbing the tying and winning goal at the very end. With the weekend in the rear view mirror, UCLA now stands at 15-2 overall and will head over to Loyola Marymount to take on the Lions on Saturday.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for this Monday morning. Fire away in the comment section with your thoughts, additions, or other bits of UCLA-related news.