It's Monday, and for many of our programs, the regular season is over, and it's time to get post-season play underway, although the events of the past week put a serious damper on UCLA's hopes to capture its 109th NCAA national title this spring (although women's golf is looking certain to repeating). So, let's get to it and take a look at how UCLA's non-revenue teams fared this past week:
- Starting with, as always, Coach Al Scates and his men's volleyball team. As mentioned in this morning's Bruin Bites, sadly, Coach Scates' final game at the helm in Westwood didn't have the same story-book ending that Coach Wooden's did, with UCLA falling to UC Irvine, 3-1 in the MPSF conference tournament quarterfinal. The Anteaters came out strong, blowing the Bruins away in the first set, 25-14. UCLA put up a fight, clawing out a close 25-23 victory in the second set. UC Irvine responded in force, winning the third set 25-16. The Bruins didn't go out without a fight, but came up short, losing the forth and decisive set, 25-23. While UCI's Kevin Tillie (20 kills) and Carson Clark (14 kills) were able to put up big numbers, the Bruins were unable to do the same, with Gonzalo Quiroga and Nick Vogel leading UCLA with just 7 saves each. With the loss, Coach Al Scates' legendary career comes to a close, and UCLA's season ends earlier than we'd all like, standing at 22-8.
- Turning to the #2-ranked women's water polo team, their final regular season game against #1-ranked Stanford doubled as "Senior Night" for Caitlin Dement, Nicole Barker, Hannah Sebenaler, Sarah Orozco, and KK Clark. Unfortunately, their last match at Spieker Aquatics Center only revealed the wide gulf between the #1 and #2 teams in the country, as Stanford slaughtered the Lady Bruins, 8-1. Despite splitting the prior two games against the Cardinal, Stanford game out guns blazing to grab the MPSF regular season crown and secure the top seed in the upcoming MPSF conference tournament. KK Clark grabbed the only UCLA goal to prevent the shutout while Caitlin Dement notched 9 saves to the 8 goals conceded in her final home match for the Blue and Gold. With the loss, the ladies' regular season record stands at 18-3 overall and 5-2 in conference play. They'll next be in action as the #2-seed in the MPSF conference tournament, taking on #7-seed San Diego State this upcoming Friday in Palo Alto.
- In a repeat of last year, the women's gymnastics team made it through the NCAA semifinal in strong fashion, only to be up-ended in the national final, once again coming up short against the Alabama Crimson Tide, who repeated as national champs, finishing at 197.850 to Florida's 197.775 and UCLA's 197.750. In other words, UCLA came up a tenth of a point (.1) short of grabbing UCLA's 109th NCAA national title. In the semi-final on Friday, UCLA pulled out a 197.400 victory over Utah (197.200) and Stanford (197.125), with all three advancing to the Super Six national championship round. In the final, UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa was the individual highlight, scoring a perfect 10 on the vault, taking top score on the uneven bars (9.950), top score on the balance beam (tied with teammate Samantha Peszek at 9.950), with a strong score on the floor exercise (9.875). All-in-all, the Bruins once again came up painfully short, something that Coach Valorie Kondos-Field knows all too well the last few seasons.
- In tennis action, the Bruins had a pair of upsets in the matches against U$C. Starting with the #5-ranked men's tennis team, the Bruins went across town and pulled off a big upset, ending U$C's 45-match winning streak with a 4-3 victory to pick up the Pac-12 regular season title and secure the #1-seed at the Pac-12 conference tournament. The Bruins started off by conceding the doubles point, with U$C winning 2 out of the 3 doubles matches. However, UCLA came back in singles action, with Nick Meister, Marcos Giron, Adrien Puget, and Dennis Mkrtchian all beating their Trojan opposition to bring UCLA a huge win. With the upset in hand to close out the regular season, the Bruins find themselves at 21-2 overall and 7-0 in Pac-12 play. The Bruins will head up the 101 to Ojai for the Pac-12 conference tournament beginning on Thursday.
- Meanwhile, on the women's side, the #1-ranked UCLA women's tennis team took on #4-ranked U$C in Westwood at the L.A. Tennis Center and the Trojans flipped the script from the men's match, upsetting the top ranked Bruins, 6-1. With the end of the season win, U$C claims the Pac-12 regular season title and picked up top seeding for the Pac-12 conference tournament (also beginning on Thursday in Ojai). The Lady Bruins, who fell to 21-2 overall and 8-2 in conference play will need to pick themselves up and return to their dominating form soon. In the regular season finale, U$C picked up two of the three doubles' sets to take the opening point. The Trojans didn't let up when singles action came around, winning 5 out of 6 contests, many of which in strong or dominating form. Of the Bruins, only Chanelle Van Nguyen was able to pick up a win.
- Finally, turning to the #1-ranked women's golf team, the ladies finished their regular season strong, picking up their sixth team title of the season in the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate in scenic Half Moon Bay. With the victory in hand, the Lady Bruins find themselves leading the pack nationally in the number of tournaments won. The Bruins never fell behind, taking the win from wire-to-wire by finishing 15 shots under par, 6 shots ahead of second place U$C. UCLA will now turn its attention to post-season play in the hope of repeating last year's national championship. The Lady Bruins are next in action in the Pac-12 conference tournament beginning on Friday in Pullman, Washington.
So, with that, we find ourselves on the verge of post-season action for our various non-revenue sports. However, UCLA's hope of adding to its extensive national title tally took a big hit with women's gymnastics and men's volleyball coming up short. Let's hope that our women's golf and water polo teams cam finish strong and that UCLA's 109th (and maybe 110th) national titles are just on the horizon too. We'll need every on to keep pace since Chianti Dan isn't doing us any favors. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and observations on another big week for our non-revenue sports.