Although fall is just around the corner, it's still scorching in the Golden State, as we get another work week underway and move one day closer to our next UCLA football game, with this upcoming game kicking off on Saturday at 9 a.m. PST on ABC. While we count down the days and hours until kick-off, looking around the UCLA-iverse, with the notable exception of a horrible tragedy hitting our football team, it was a quiet weekend for UCLA football, with the Bruins having the bye week. So, as we go through the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse, you'll find much more non-revenue action than normal. So, with that said, here's your Bruin Bites for this Monday morning:
- Beginning with a football note, the Los Angeles Times focused in on our three true freshmen defensive linemen stand-outs this past Sunday evening, taking note of the excellent debuts for DE Kylie Fitts, DE Eddie Vanderdoes, and DT Kenny Clark. There's some good praise in there for the three freshmen from Coach Mora and Angus McClure, the DL coach, with all three guys forcing their way into the rotation through their outstanding play so far.
- In the same article, the Los Angeles Times took note of Coach Mora's steadfast support of sophomore kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn, who has been inconsistent in FG attempts of 40+ yards, but reliable inside the 40-yard line. Fairbairn, asked to fill the huge shoes left by All-American Mr. Reliable Kai Forbath, is psychologically a "pretty tough kid" according to Mora, who has no plans on making any changes in the kicking game following his miss from 48 yards against Nevada.
- Moving on to softball, the Fresno Bee spotlighted one of their hometown stars, former UCLA softball 3B/OF Andrea Duran, who helped lead the Bruins to the College World Series twice, before winning an Olympic silver medal in Beijing in 2008. The Bee caught up to her for a quick Q&A following her title win for the USSSA Pride in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) championship, which comes before she takes up duty volunteering with the UCLA softball program this upcoming spring.
- Jumping over to the #2-ranked men's water polo team, the Bruins kept their undefeated season alive with a pair of easy wins yesterday, beginning with a 21-7 slaughter of Cal Lutheran in the Triton Invitational in San Diego. In the opening win, Paul Reynolds and Chris Wendt led UCLA with a hat-trick each, while Patrick Woepse, Rainer Sherwood, Gordon Marshall, Ryder Roberts, Lucas Reynolds, and Lovre Milos each grabbed a brace, with three other Bruins also getting on the scoresheet in a dominating win that allowed the Bruins to give a lot of reserve players valuable time in the pool. Later that afternoon, UCLA took on #11-ranked UC San Diego, the tournament host, and despite having the home pool advantage, it was never close for the Tritons, with UCLA racing out to a 8-3 lead by half, ending the game with a comfortable 16-6 win. Once again, Paul Reynolds scored a hat-trick to give him six goals for the day, with Daniel Lenhart and Lovre Milos also netting hat tricks over UCSD. With the pair of wins, the Bruins now stand at 4-0 and will head to Redlands next weekend for the Inland Empire Classic, taking on Redlands, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and Whittier.
- Turning to the #2-ranked women's soccer team, following their heart-breaking close loss to #1-ranked North Carolina in Durham on Friday , the Lady Bruins backed back in style on Sunday, picking up a huge road win over #12-ranked Duke in Durham, 2-1, thanks to goals by Rosie White (8') and the eventual winner by Darian Jenkins (78'). The Bruins now stand at 5-1 on the year and will be back in action at home this Friday against San Diego State.
- Flipping over to the #10-ranked women's volleyball team, the Lady Bruins suffered their first loss of the year, falling to #9-ranked Hawaii in Honolulu this past Saturday, getting swept 0-3 (18-25, 17-25, 18-25). Kelly Reeves (8 kills) and Karsta Lowe (7 kills) led UCLA, but it wasn't enough against the strong Rainbow Wahine led by Emily Hartong (15 kills) and Mita Uiato (33 assists). With the loss, they join their female soccer colleagues at 5-1 on the year. They'll still be on the road, heading next to Denver on Thursday for a three-game run against Denver, Cal State Northridge, and Creighton in the Denver Invitational.
Alright folks, those are your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this Monday morning as we count down to the big game in Lincoln against the Cornhuskers. Fire away with your comments, additions, opinions, etc. in the comment thread as we count down to Saturday.