Unlike last week, with spring break over and the students back on campus, almost all of our non-revenue sports teams were in action this past week, many of them picking up right where they left off: in the midst of a march toward (hopefully) another UCLA national championship. Everything that needed to be said about the big-pictures issues when it comes to Chianti Dan's failed leadership was painfully exposed by the statistics highlighted this morning, so let's get right to it.
So, here's how our non-revenue sports fared in their first week back following spring break:
- Starting, as usual, with Coach Al Scates and the #3-ranked men's volleyball team, it seems a few of the guys hadn't shaken off the cobwebs (read: spring break after-effects) when they took on the #13-ranked UC San Diego Tritons on Friday. In a shocking upset, the Bruins got handled in La Jolla, losing 3-1. UCSD ran out to a comfortable two-set advantage, before the Bruins were able to squeak in a win during the third set. Any comeback hope was quashed, as UCSD picked up the fourth set to notch the win. Weston Dunlap led the Bruins (11 kills, 2 digs, 12.5 points total) while Connor Bannan, filling in for Kyle Caldwell, picked up 32 assists.
- Despite the upset loss on Friday, the men bounced back in an impressive fashion on Saturday night in Irvine, dropping the #1-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters in three straight sets, 3-0. In a key win for UCLA, the Bruins got big games from Gonzalo Quiroga (13 kills, 5 digs), Thomas Amberg (10 kills), Kyle Caldwell (34 assists, 6 digs), and Weston Dunlap (8 kills). With the split week, the Bruins now find themselves at 20-5 overall and 14-4 in conference play.
- Turning to the #1-ranked women's water polo team, the ladies got to spend the days after their spring break in Hawaii, taking on the #16-ranked Hawaii Rainbow Wahine. Despite playing on Wahine home-turf, the Lady Bruins cruised to an easy win, staving off a late Hawaii comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, to win 8-4. The Bruins built a 7-1 lead through three quarters, before a lax defensive effort in the fourth made the score appear closer than it really was. UCLA was led by braces from KK Clark and Kelly Ronimus, while goalkeeper Caitlin Dement came up big with 14 saves. With the win, UCLA improved to 16-1 on the season and 5-0 in conference play.
- The other UCLA women #1-ranked squad, the women's tennis team, kept their undefeated season going strong on Friday, beating Washington 5-2. Starting by winning the doubles point, the Bruins picked up 4 out of the 6 singles matches to notch another win, with Robin Anderson, Skylar Morton, Carling Seguso, and Kaitlin Ray getting UCLA the singles wins needed to keep their perfect season alive. Despite the team still maintaining a perfect record, Chanelle Van Nguyen, who had won every singles match she played in this season, finally dropped a match, losing to Washington's Julija Lukac (3-6, 6-3, (10-8)).
- The following day, Coach Sampras-Webster and her squad kept it going, sweeping the Oregon Ducks at the L.A. Tennis Center, 7-0. Despite a close doubles match, the Bruins came away with the doubles point and didn't look back in singles action, with Robin Anderson, Pamela Montez, Skylar Morton, Chanelle Van Nguyen, Carling Seguso, and Kaitin Ray picking up comfortable wins. With the pair of wins, UCLA kept its perfect season together, now at 18-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play.
- On the men's side, the #5-ranked men's tennis team got their return from spring break started off right, sweeping LMU last Tuesday, 7-0. Despite the lay-off, the squad showed no signs of rust, easily picking up the doubles point, before a dominating display in the singles matches, with freshman Dennis Novikov marking with UCLA debut with a win (other wins by Clay Thompson, Marcos Giron, Adrien Puget, Dennis Mkrtchian, Maxime Tabatruong), with both Thompson and Tabatruong winning 6-0, 6-0.
- On Friday, the men headed north and got their road trip started off right, sweeping the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, 7-0. With the doubles point in hand, the Bruins again swept the singles action, with Thompson, Nick Meister, Novikov, Giron, Puget, and Mkrtchian all winning their matches. The newcomer Novikov ran his freshman record to 2-0 with his 6-4, 6-4 win, giving the Bruins' seventh man off the bench some valuable experience.
- The following day, the Bruins weren't as sharp, but got a solid win over #22-ranked Washington, 5-2,in Seattle. However, freshman Dennis Novikov finally tasted defeat, losing in singles action in a tight 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (3) loss to Washington's Marton Bots. On the team side, the Bruins swept doubles action to claim the doubles point, before Meister, Giron, Puget, and Mkrtchian all notching wins to lead the Bruins to another victory. With the three wins in the past week, the Bruins now find themselves at 16-2 for the season and 2-0 in Pac-12 play.
- On April's Fools Day, the #4-ranked men's golf team found themselves finishing at the same spot as their ranking, coming in fourth at the U.S. Intercollegiate, hosted by Stanford at their course in Palo Alto. The fourth-place finish was a bit deceptive, as UCLA was nowhere close to matching the winner, finishing 11 strokes behind top-finisher Oregon, 10 strokes behind second-place U$C, and 3 strokes behind third-place Stanford.
- Finally, on the same day, the #1-ranked and defending national champs women's golf team took on tough conditions in Arizona, to capture top honors at the PING/ASU Invitational, for their fifth tournament win of the year and third straight team victory at this event. With difficult playing conditions, the Lady Bruins played like champions, finishing a dozen strokes ahead of the second-place (and host) Arizona State Sun Devils.
Very good week for our top-ranked women's teams, as the women's tennis, water polo, and golf teams kept rolling toward (what we hope) will be a slew of NCAA championships for Westwood. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and observations on another solid week for our non-revenue sports.