It's Monday afternoon, but it's a Monday afternoon on a very special week: not only are many of our non-revenue sports already back in action, but this past weekend was the last weekend without college football. That's right folks: this Thursday, our Bruins finally hit the field for real as they get the college football season kicked off against Rice. So while it's time to head back to the office, it's also time to get psyched for the return of the Blue and Gold to the gridiron. So, let's wrap up the end of this Monday workday with the round-up of the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Obviously, the biggest news is that this week is our first game week of the college football season. Stay tuned here as we roll out more football-specific posts and content. In case you missed it, check out Achilles' last Friday pre-game guesses post (which will return on Wednesday before our Thursday kick-off), AHMB's preview of Rice's offense and coaching here, as well as the other football notes in BN's football section here.
- Turning to the non-revenue sports (programming note: we'll continue to bring non-revenue sports news from the prior week here on Bruin Bites, with open threads for various big-time games as they occur), let's start with the program not in action until the winter: the women's hoops team. Coach Cori Close landed a big recruit (literally) this past week, securing the commitment of 6'9" center Savanna Trapp, beating out interest from big names in the Big Ten (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa), to lure the Esko, Minnesota center out to the Best Coast. Welcome to Westwood Savanna!
- For the #2-ranked men's soccer team, their season did not get off to the kind of start expected of a national title contender, falling at home to #6-ranked New Mexico, 3-2 this past Friday. Despite out-shooting the Lobos 13-5, the Bruins, playing without Chandler Hoffman and Kelyn Rowe (both of whom left for MLS), were unable to convert consistently (goals coming from Ryan Hollingshead and Evan Raynr), leaving new #1 'keeper Earl Edwards the tall task of keeping the Lobos at bay. Sadly, Edwards' first game in the #1 jersey was not one to remember, being caught out of position to let New Mexico take the lead with a goal into an empty net. The Bruins currently stand at 0-1-0 and will next take on Maryland in College Park this upcoming Friday.
- As for the then-#6-ranked women's soccer team, they didn't have the same sputtering start as the men, opening their year with three straight victories. The ladies got it started against UMass in Amherst, grabbing a tight 2-1 victory, thanks to goals from Kodi Lavrusky (23rd minute) and Abby Dahlkemper (52nd minute). The ladies headed back to the West Coast, stopping in Fresno to give the Lady Bulldogs a loss, notching a Blue and Gold 2-0 win, thanks to goals from Abby Dahlkemper (39th minute) and Chelsea Cline (59th minute), all while Katelyn Rowland picked up her first clean sheet of the year. Finally, on Saturday, the now-#5-ranked Bruins returned to Drake Stadium where they took on #22-ranked Illinois, but showing no signs of slowing down, the ladies picked up a solid 2-0 win (goals from Zakiya Bywaters and Ally Courtnall) to keep their undefeated season start going strong. The ladies now stand at 3-0-0 and will take on Wisconsin on Friday at home.
- Finally, turning to the defending NCAA champs, the #1-ranked women's volleyball team got their bid to defend their title started on Friday, dropping Notre Dame in the season opener in four sets, winning 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19). All-American Rachael Kidder (who else) led the Bruins, racking up 18 kills (to go with 2 assists and 7 digs), with Tabi Love (12 kills), and Kelly Reeves (10 kills, 11 digs) also getting into double-figures. Megan Moenoa had an excellent season debut, serving up 35 assists, while Bojana Todorovic notched 16 digs. Unfortunately, the Bruins' season hit a small hiccup, as UCLA fell to #4-ranked Nebraska in five sets, 3-2, in front of a hostile Nebraska crowd in Lincoln. Tabi Love led the Bruins with 20 kills, which Rachael Kidder picked up a double-double (14 kills, 10 digs). While no other Bruin could notch double-digits in kills, Becca Strehlow led the way in assists (46) and digs (23). With the loss, the ladies fall to 1-1, with their next match being an exhibition match at John Wooden Center against Jiangsu University (China) on Tuesday. Their next actual game will come at the UCSB Invitational on Friday against Northeastern.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to start the work week with. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and additions in the comments thread.