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Bruin Bites: Which Bruin Teams Will Be Playing in the Last Game of the Season?

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Every season starts out with the goal of advancing to the championship match, other than Men's Basketball, where the standard is reaching the Sweet 16 and at least hit the minimum 930 academic standard, so that another year can be added to Alford's contract. Several Olympic sports programs advanced closer to the championship goal this week.

Bruins exult as Dan Guerrero is shown the door- we can dream, can't we? More celebrating is hopefully in our future.
Bruins exult as Dan Guerrero is shown the door- we can dream, can't we? More celebrating is hopefully in our future.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I attended the UCLA-Cal football game on Saturday. I also attended the Cal-Washington game last week (which Cal lost 31-7). It is very obvious from these two games that we will not be playing football on January 12 in Arlington, TX. This was the ultimate goal coming into the season, but the performance gap is just too great at the moment.

So if we want to see Bruins playing in the final game of the season, we need to look elsewhere.

--- The final match of the Women's Soccer season will be December 7 at Florida Atlantic Stadium in Boca Raton. And the defending national champion Bruins continue to roll. The #1 ranked Bruins faced #22 Cal on Monday night at Drake Stadium. After a scoreless 1st half, sophomore forward Darian Jenkins got UCLA on the board with a goal in the 47th minute. UCLA scored again in the 56th minute, as senior midfielder Sarah Killion scored from the top of the box. The score became 3-0 when freshman defender Zoey Goralski scored after a save on Abby Dahlkemper's free kick. And 3-0 was the final score, as goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland added to her school record with her 46th clean sheet. So the women's soccer team beat Cal by a larger margin than the football team. Hmm. Here is the recap from the official website.

The final match of the week was Senior Night, the final regular season home game, vs. Arizona. The nine seniors had a record of 68-5-11, with an NCAA title, coming into the match. And the team was clearly amped, as they destroyed the Mildcats 6-0. Once again the Bruins got off to a relatively slow start in the 1st half, and then blitzed their opponent after intermission. Junior forward Taylor Smith scored the 1st goal in the 37th minute. The Bruins added two goals in the space of three minutes early in the 2nd half- one by Sarah Killion and the other by senior defender Caprice Dydasco, her first of the season. UCLA had another scoring flurry with two more goals in under a minute, as Sarah Killion and Darian Jenkins both found the back of the net. The final tally was scored by senior midfielder Sam Mewis. Here is the recap from the official website. For the two matches, UCLA outscored their opponents 9-0, and outshot their opponents 43-12. We may be lacking an effective offensive coordinator in football, but Coach Cromwell definitely gets to keep her O.

Here is an article from ESPN which highlights the Bruin success story so far. As they note, Coach Amanda Cromwell inherited a talented team, but she also has put the pieces together for the success enjoyed so far in her two seasons.

Next up for the Bruins- five conference matches on the road, beginning with a match Friday night at Oregon State and a match Sunday afternoon (1 pm) at Oregon. The Oregon match will be shown on Pac-12 Network. The Bruins now have a record of 13-0-2, and are ranked #1 for good reason.

--- The final match of the Men's Water Polo season is also on Sunday, December 7, at UCSD's Canyonview Pool. After last week's shortfall in the semifinal and consolation matches of the SoCal Tourney, UCLA had fallen from #1 to #4 in the most recent rankings. But the Bruins bounced back in a big way, with a huge 13-8 victory over #2 Cal in Berkeley on Saturday morning before the football squeaker. So the water polo team and the women's soccer team both had larger margins of victory than the football team. Hmm.

Early in the match, the score was tied 2-2. The Bruins then scored twice to take a 4-2 lead at the end of the 1st period. Cal and UCLA traded goals four times during the 2nd period, before the Bruins added a goal at the buzzer to head into halftime with a 9-6 lead. The 3rd period was all UCLA, as the Bruins scored three goals to take a 12-6 lead, chasing the Cal goalie in the process. The 4th period saw another UCLA goal, and two Cal goals, for a final score of 13-8 Bruins.

Sophomore center Gordon Marshall scored five times (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy). Senior attacker Paul Reynolds added three, senior Cristiano Mirachi added two, and three other Bruins scored to account for the 13 goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Garrett Danner had nine saves. Here is the recap from the official site.

UCLA improves its record to 19-2, 3-0 in conference play. Next up is a home showdown with #3 Stanford on Friday afternoon (4 pm), which will also be televised on the Pac-12 network. Next Sunday, the Bruins travel to Santa Barbara for a conference match against #8 UCSB. It is pretty obvious (at least to me) that there are four standout teams in Men's Water Polo this season- UCLA, Cal, Stanford and $C- any of which can beat any of the other three on any given day, and there is then a huge dropoff. The win over Cal is important for seedings in the conference tourney, which in turn will determine the potential entrants into the NCAA tourney. The match against Stanford will be equally important.

---- The final match of the Men's Soccer season will take place on Sunday, December 14, in Cary, NC. After last week's lost weekend in Northern California (loss to Cal, tie with Stanford), it looked like this date would probably not be particularly relevant for UCLA. But then the Bruins upended the #1 team in the country, Washington at Drake Stadium on Thursday, and a long postseason run became a more realistic possibility. UCLA added a win over Oregon State on Sunday night, by the score of 3-0. And suddenly all is right with the world (except for TIARA's extension, the lack of coaching by the football coordinators, the traffic getting to Levi Stadium, the lack of rain in California, and a few other things).

In the Washington match, all the scoring took place in the 1st half. Senior midfielder Leo Stolz opened the scoring in the 15th minute, with an assist from Abu Danladi. After Washington tied the match, freshman Seyi Adekoya put the Bruins again to stay, with an assist from Stolz. Washington outscored UCLA 14-8, but the Bruins clearly made more out of their opportunities. Here is the recap for the Washington match.

After the Oregon State match, UCLA is 8-3-3, 3-1-1 in conference play. Next up for the Bruins is a road trip to play the same two teams (in the same order) on the road. The match at Washington is Thursday at 7:30, and will be televised on Pac-12 network. The match at Oregon State is next Sunday at 11 am, and will also be televised on Pac-12 network.

The football season has been disappointing, to say the least. Another Bowl game in December with a sponsor to be named later is most likely in our future, at least based on my in-person impressions from the Cal game (hope I am wrong). Thank goodness for our Olympic teams, as the fall season continues in full swing.

Here's hoping that we have the Bruins winning the final match of the collegiate season in at least one, and hopefully more sports before the end of the year. Go Bruins !!