Let's take a moment to reset and focus on UCLA teams that are competitive, play-to-win, and don't have talented athletes without anything resembling coaching (read: squads not run by Rick Neuheisel). So although football is king (since it is the top revenue producer for an athletic department, where Morgan Center has failed under Guerr-error), our non-revenue athletes are continuing to excelnon-revenue athletes are continuing to excel (except men's soccer with its maddeningly inconsistent play) and give Bruin fans something to be excited about.
Let's take a look at how other UCLA sports fared this past weekend while the football team was being destroyed by the kid anointed by the MSM as College Football Jesus:
- Starting with some mid-week news, the women's golf team maintained their #1 ranking in the coaches' poll, with the Lady Bruins capturing 16 out of 21 first-place votes. Other notable California schools in the poll include U$C (#2), Cal (#18), UC Davis (#20), and Stanford (#22). The women weren't in any danger of losing the top spot after winning the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview by six strokes. So far, the ladies look like strong contenders to bring the first championship banner of this school year back to Westwood.
- Turning to the #2 ranked women's soccer team, the ladies had a big weekend, starting off with a 1-0 victory over Oregon on Friday. Freshman Kylie McCarthy was the difference-maker, burying a header in the 80th minute to grab victory for the Lady Bruins, while fellow freshman Katelyn Rowland kept the Ducks at bay for the full 90, picking up a Friday clean sheet. The ladies came up huge again on Sunday by putting #23 Oregon State down, again by the score of 1-0, this time with senior striker Sydney Leroux scoring the only goal in the match in the 17th minute. Once again, freshman goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland put in an impressive performance, picking up her second clean sheet of the weekend. The Lady Bruins kept their undefeated season alive, improving to 10-0-1 and 3-0 in Pac-12 play.
- Staying with soccer, the #16 ranked men's team found some form this weekend and kept their tendency to play inconsistently at bay, starting with a Friday overtime win in their conference opener versus Cal, with senior captain Andy Rose scoring the winner in the 91st minute, to squeak out a 1-0 win after controlling the game for the duration of regulation (i.e. 16 shots to Cal's 6). The men continued their winning ways by dropping the Stanford Cardinal by the score of 2-0 on Sunday evening. After a scoreless first half, the Bruins took control during the second 45 minutes, and came out firing, putting in a brace within 7 minutes time, with Ryan Hollingshead scoring in the 53rd minute and captain Andy Rose netting in the 60th minute. Goalkeeper Brian Rowe kept two clean sheets on the weekend, and the Bruins improve to 7-3-1 and 2-0 in Pac-12 play.
- In volleyball news, the #2 ranked Lady Bruins also picked up a sweep this weekend, starting by dismantling the Utes on Friday, knocking the women from Utah out in three games, with Utah simply unable to keep up with the #2 ranked Lady Bruins. Our ladies followed up their victory in Salt Lake City with another clean sweep in Boulder, dropping Colorado in three games. Lauren van Orden and Bojana Todorovic both had big games against Utah and Colorado and were instrumental in the Bruins picking up a weekend pair of victories over their new conference foes. The ladies improve to 13-2 overall and remain tied at the top of the Pac-12 at 6-1.
- Finally, the #2 ranked men's water polo team started the weekend strong, drubbing Air Force 18-5 in their opening match of the SoCal Tournament, and then dropping #8 UC Santa Barbara 12-5 in their second match of the day. Despite starting strong on Saturday with 30 goals between two games (only allowing 10 by opponents), the men couldn't find their scoring touch in the tournament quarterfinal against #3 Cal, falling 8-4. Fortunately, for the Bruin faithful, they'll have their opportunity to exact some revenge soon, taking on the Golden Bears at Spieker Aquatics Center this upcoming Friday.
Good weekend for the Bruins, with all three women's teams finding strong performances to keep themselves at the top of the rankings and putting themselves all in prime position to capture conference titles, if not national titles. Men's soccer appears to finally be turning the corner, dominating the offensive statistics (now, if they can only convert more "shots on goal" to actual goals, they'll be set), but still don't have the killer instinct we'd like to see. All-in-all, a nice break from the disappointment we're accustomed to seeing on television thanks to Rick Neuheisel.