Another Monday, another solid week for UCLA's non-revenue sports teams, although the softball team's undefeated run finally came to an end. Our men's basketball team might be able to lay claim to an undefeated season . . . but oh yeah, Chianti Dan hired Steve "Loses to Harvard in the First Round" Alford instead of Gregg "33-0" Marshall. Cool. In any event, it's time to run down the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
--- Beginning with the #6-ranked women's sand volleyball team, the Lady Bruins opened the season with a 3-2 win over Cal State Northridge this past Thursday to get the 2014 program off on the right foot. Skylar Dykstra and Jennie Frager picked up the first match for UCLA of the year, winning 21-19, 21-14, before UCLA got wins from Jessyka Ngauamo and Kamila Tan (21-12, 21-11) and the pair of Karly Drolson and Rachel Inouye (21-8, 21-14) to get the Bruins the opening victory. The Bruins took a short drive south to Irvine on Saturday to play a doubleheader, beginning with a 4-1 win over Irvine Valley College with Ngauamo/Tan (22-20, 21-7), Zoe Nightingale/Madie Smith (21-15, 21-19), Drolson/Inouye (21-11, 21-13), and Taylor Formico/Natalie Miller (21-17, 18-21, 15-8) picking up the points for the Bruins. The Lady Bruins ended their day with a 3-2 win over Cal State Bakersfield, with Ngauamo/Tan (21-17, 21-17), Drolson/Inouye (21-19, 18-21, 15-7), and Dykstra/Frager (21-15, 21-12) picking up UCLA's three points for the win. With the wins, the Lady Bruins start their year off at 3-0 and will next take on Florida State this upcoming Friday.
--- Turning to their male indoor counterparts, the #5-ranked men's volleyball team went to Santa Barbara on Wednesday and got dumped quickly, losing 3-0 to the #7-ranked Gauchos (20-25, 19-25, 20-25). Gonzalo Quiroga (12 kills) led UCLA in a listless effort, with Robart Page limited to just 8 kills. On Saturday, the Bruins returned to Pauley Pavilion and got the perfect rebound opponent: unranked, 1-17 overall UC San Diego. And as you'd expect, the Bruins made very short work of their UC counterparts, winning 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-15). This time Page led his Bruins with 12 kills while Quiroga played second-fiddle, finishing with 9 kills. With the split results, the Bruins currently stand at 14-6 overall, 11-5 in conference play, and will next take on Pepperdine tomorrow at home.
--- Flipping to the #8-ranked women's gymnastics team, the ladies went out to Ann Arbor for a tri-meet against the #7-ranked Wolverines and #6-ranked Utah, and came out in second with a total score of 197.475, coming up just 0.350 behind the first-placed Wolverines (197.825) while finishing a comfortable 0.125 ahead of Utah (197.350). The Bruins weren't able to grab top spot in any individual event, but Samantha Peszek finished on top in the all-around, finishing with a 39.650, to narrowly edge Michigan's Joanna Sampson's 39.600. With one tri-meet down, the Bruins will host another at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, taking on Utah State and Bowling Green in the final match before the post-season gets underway.
--- Turning to the #3-ranked women's tennis team, the Lady Bruins took on #6-ranked Southern Cal on Friday in a cross-town duel, and the Bruins came out on top, 5-2. The Bruins opened with the doubles point (8-6, 8-3), before picking up singles victories by Catherine Harrison (6-1, 6-0), Jennifer Brady (6-3, 6-1) and Kyle McPhillips (6-3, 6-3) to clinch victory for the Bruins. The Trojans would pick up consolation points once the match was out of reach, with Chanelle Van Nguyen (6-2, 6-4) getting UCLA's fifth point of the day. With the win, the Bruins are now 11-1 overall and will be in action this afternoon against Baylor at the L.A. Tennis Center (1:30 p.m. PST).
--- As for their male counterparts, the #3-ranked men's tennis team exacted revenge for last year's NCAA title loss, dropping #2-ranked Virginia, 4-3. The Bruins edged out the doubles point (8-3, 4-8, 8-5) to pick up the crucial first point, with Mackenzie McDonald (7-5, 6-4) and Clay Thompson (7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-5) put the Bruins up 3-1, with Marcos Giron (5-7, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4)) picking up the fourth point to clinch it at 4-1, before letting Virginia knock back some consolation points. On Sunday, the Bruins had a much easier day, dropping St. Mary's, 4-0 to send the Gaels back to Moraga empty handed. The Bruins opened up the match winning the doubles point (8-0, 4-8, 8-4) before Joseph Di Giulio (6-2, 6-2), Karue Sell (6-2, 6-1) and Mackenzie McDonald (6-1, 6-4) got the singles wins necessary to win it for the Bruins. With the pair of wins, the Bruins are now 11-1 on the year and will take on Baylor at the L.A. Tennis Center on Wednesday at 2 p.m. PST.
--- Moving to the pool, the #2-ranked women's water polo squad took on #5-ranked Arizona State at Spieker Aquatic Center yesterday and came out with a 11-7 victory to open MPSF conference play. The Bruins came out strong in the first quarter, taking a 2-0 lead and never looked back, matching the Sun Devils from there on out. Emily Donohoe continued her strong run of form, netting four times, while Rachel Fattal added a hat trick, and Kodi Hill notched a brace. With the win, the Lady Bruins are 17-2 on the year, 1-0 in conference play, and will take on Harvard this Friday in Westwood. Fortunately for UCLA, Steve Alford isn't coaching this team, so we should be good to go on Friday.
--- Finally, after taking a week off due to the rain, the #3-ranked softball team got back to action on Tuesday against #4-ranked Michigan at Easton Stadium, winning it 4-1 in extra innings thanks to a three-run home run by Delaney Spaulding (1-3, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR). Jessica Hall (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K) got the start for the Bruins but after throwing 5 shutout innings, she got the hook for Ally Carda (3.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 K), who didn't pitch her best, giving up the tying run to Michigan, but came away with her 10th win on the year thanks to Spaulding's big hit. Wednesday wouldn't be as kind to the Lady Bruins, as Michigan would exact revenge, dropping UCLA 9-4 to saddle the Bruins with their first loss of the year. Carda (5.0 IP, 5 ER, 2 K, 2 BB) got the start, but struggled against the Wolverines, getting hit early and often. Spaulding (1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR) blasted her third homer of the year, while catcher Brittany Moeai (2-3, 2 RBI) put together a multi-hit, two-RBI effort, but it wasn't enough to keep up with Michigan.
--- After splitting the games with Michigan, the Bruins' softball squad took on UNLV on Friday as part of the UCLA/CSUN Invitational, and UNLV was exactly what the doctor ordered after the Bruins' first loss: the Bruins took out Wednesday's loss on the Lady Rebels, dropping UNLV in a mercy-rule shortened 8-0 win in six innings. Carda (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 10 K) got back to her dominating form, while the Bruin offense came alive, led by 3B Mysha Sataraka (3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR), who blasted her fourth homer on the year. The back half of Friday's doubleheader followed form, with UCLA spanking Loyola Chicago, 11-3 in a mercy-rule shortened win for the Lady Bruins. Hall (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 12 K) got the start and despite falling behind early, limited Loyola enough to let UCLA's potent offense pick up her sixth win of the year for he, with Sataraka (1-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) hitting her fifth HR of the year and Ally Carda (1-1, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 2 BB) getting it done on the offensive side of the ball to help her pitching mate out. Saturday meant another day, another doubleheader, this time beginning with a 7-2 win over Loyola Chicago to open the day. Carda (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 11 K) took the hill for the Bruins and dominated, notching a career-high 11 punch-outs, while also putting together a big game at the plate (3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI). Sataraka (1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) kept her hot-streak alive, putting up her sixth homer of the year. The Bruins ended the day with another dominating pitching effort, dropping Charleston Southern, 4-0, on the arm of Jessica Hall (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 K), who did an outstanding job shutting down CSU, and behind the bat of Spaulding (1-1, 1 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 1 HR). Finally, the Lady Bruins closed out a busy tourney weekend on Sunday with one last doubleheader, beginning with a 4-2 win over Cal State Bakersfield. Carda (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 K) got the start and picked up her 13th win on the year, while Hall (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 K) came in to close it out and pick up her second save. And as you probably expected, the offense came on the bat of none other than Spaulding (2-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) and Sataraka (1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR), who hit their fifth and seventh homers of the year, respectively. Sunday evening brought one last tourney opponent and the Bruins finished strong, beating Georgetown, 3-1. Hall (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, 2 BB) went the distance to pick up her eighth win of the year, while Carda (1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR) provided the offense to earn UCLA a 23rd win on the year. The Bruins now stand at 23-1 and will kick off Pac-12 conference play next weekend in Westwood against Arizona.
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.