Tuesdays in the fall suck, am I right? You still have most of the work week to go and it's the day furthest away from any football. And while this Saturday is far away, it will be a game with some big questions for Mora and the Bruins: they're going to face a struggling Cal program (no surprise after terminating the best coach they've had in the past 50 years) at home in the Rose Bowl - it's a game that should result in a solid, dominating, easy UCLA win. But will our Bruins begin to believe their own hype and fall into a trap game against a Cal offense that can definitely score in bunches? Or will Mora have his guys grounded and will they come out with the same determined focus they did in Lincoln and pound Cal into the ground?
We'll have to wait and see. But with our Bruins not in action again until Saturday night, it's the perfect time to look at how our other Bruin squads, especially our undefeated and #1-ranked men's water polo team, have been doing over the past week. Here's your various bits and pieces of non-revenue sports related news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with the #16-ranked women's volleyball team, this just does not seem to be Coach Michael Sealy's year, with his Lady Bruins struggling to dominate like they did during their 2011 run to the national title, with the squad being swept at home by the Bay Area schools. Beginning last Wednesday,the Lady Bruins got swept in a three-set victory by #7-ranked Stanford, falling 0-3 (17-25, 15-25, 16-25), in a match that was never close, despite Karsta Lowe's 11 kills. After taking a beating from the Cardinal, the Lady Bruins fared only marginally better against unranked Cal on Friday, getting beat in just three sets again, losing 0-3 (26-28, 29-31, 14-25). Once again, Lowe led the line with 13 kills, but it wasn't enough as the Bruins now fall to 9-5 overall and dead-last in conference play at 0-4. The Lady Bruins will have their next chance at getting that elusive first conference win this Friday in Eugene against Oregon, before travelling to Corvallis on Saturday, followed by a road trip to the Arizona schools the following weekend. If their poor play continues, especially on the road, UCLA could be looking at a 0-8 start to Pac-12 play. The seat could be getting warmer for Sealy real quick. Oh wait, no it can't: Dan Guerrero is our athletic director and that fat slob wouldn't know accountability unless it was the name of a cheap bottle of Chianti.
- Turning to the #3-ranked women's soccer team, these Lady Bruins have played strong and Friday was no different, with UCLA handing the Washington State Cougars their first loss of the season, winning 2-0 in Westwood. With the Lady Cougars parking the bus on the road (UCLA out-shooting the Cougars 12-6, with only 2 Cougar shots actually on goal, compared to UCLA's 9 on frame), the Bruins were held to a scoreless first half, but the Lady Bruins finally cracked Washington State's defense in a five minute span in the second half, scoring twice, once through Courtney Proctor in the 59th minute following a corner, and once again, through Darian Jenkins (her eighth goal on the year) in the 64th minute. Following the solid win, the Bruins couldn't pick the same defensive lock for a second time, with the visiting Washington Huskies holding UCLA to a scoreless draw yesterday. Despite dominating possession and peppering the Huskies' goal (UCLA out-shot Washington 24-4), the Bruins came away unlucky with the 0-0 draw. With the split results, the Lady Bruins now stand at 10-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in conference play, and will head up to the Bay Area to take on Stanford on Thursday and Cal on Sunday.
- Turning to their male counterparts, the #10-ranked men's soccer team continued with its inconsistent play on Saturday, needing two late second-half goals to get by unranked San Diego State in Westwood, grabbing a narrow 2-1 victory over the Aztecs. Despite being unranked, the Aztecs were able to grab the early advantage against the lackluster Bruins through a Jordan Ongaro goal in the 25th minute. With UCLA heading toward another choke job in Westwood, Kevin De La Torre pounced on a huge error by SDSU goalkeeper Blake Hylen to grab the equalizer in the 76th minute. With a stalemate approaching, Victor Chavez grabbed his fourth goal of the season and the win with a late header to score in the 89th minute. With the win, UCLA now stands at 6-2-1 overall and will next take on Stanford in Westwood this Thursday.
- Finally, flipping over to the dominating #1-ranked men's water polo team, the Bruins continued their perfect run, spanking #12-ranked UC San Diego on Friday, 17-2. Despite facing ranked opposition, the match was never close, with UCLA running out to a 6-0 advantage after just the first quarter, and continuing to pile on until the fourth quarter, where the Bruins, playing mostly reserves, finally conceded the two consolation goals. Aimone Barabino led the Bruins with an impressive four-goal display, with Lucas Reynolds, Danny McClintick, and Cristiano Mirarchi all picking up braces on the day, while 7 other Bruins also got on the scoresheet in a big goal day for UCLA. With another dominating win in the books, the Bruins now stand at 15-0 and will head to Irvine this weekend for the UCI Invitational, beginning against Pomona-Pitzer (who they previously beat 17-4 back in September).
Alright folks, those are your non-revenue sports related bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned as we switch back into full-blown football mode as our Bruins gear up for this weekend's game against Cal at the Rose Bowl. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, opinions, etc. as we get ready for Saturday.