Opponent: #10 Arizona State (15-3, 4-3)
When: 1:30 PM PT, Sunday, October 18, 2015
Where: John Wooden Center, Los Angeles, CA
Audio: Bruin Live Audio
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
The Bruins looked strong in dispatching the 14th-ranked Wildcats on Friday. Not only did UCLA earn a sweep (25-16, 25-18, 25-22), the Bruins hit an outstanding .373 for the match, including a sizzling .438 in the key opening set. It wasn't a perfect performance by any means, but the Bruins easily handled a difficult opponent.
However, the win against Arizona will lose a lot of its luster if the Bruins (14-3, 5-2) lose to a vulnerable Arizona State team this afternoon. The #10 Sun Devils (15-3, 4-3) lost to #1 USC on Friday 3-1, but they have bigger problems than a loss to the top-ranked team in the country.
ASU lost All-American Macey Gardner to an ACL injury last week and is scrambling to replace her output and leadership. If you follow volleyball, you know how incredibly good Gardner is and how much of an impact she has on the court. In a year when the Arizona State volleyball team appeared set to make a breakthrough, losing Gardner is a crippling blow.
However, even without Gardner, the Sun Devils are a team to be reckoned with. Against the Trojans, the Sun Devils moved middle blocker Whitney Follette outside, and the results were surprisingly good. Follette led the Sun Devils with 13 kills, and the ASU attack was nicely balanced. Freshman Lexi MacLean performed well in her first career start, and senior Mercedes Binns and junior Cassidy Pickerell provided firepower inside and outside.
Without Gardner, the Bruins should be able to knock off the Sun Devils. As I wrote in my preview on Friday, the Bruins probably need to win today to position themselves among the top-4 in the conference. That may not seem like a particularly lofty goal, but that's where the UCLA Women's Volleyball program is at right now. The Bruins are clearly a notch below USC, Stanford, and Washington, and they have to win matches like today's against ASU to join their ranks.
Men's Water Polo
Opponent: San Jose State (2-16, 0-2)
When: 2:00 PM PT, Sunday, October 18, 2015
Where: The Aquatics Center,San Jose, CA
Live Stats: None
Today's contest against San Jose State couldn't be much different from yesterday's battle with #4 Stanford, one of the elite water polo programs in the nation. The Spartans (2-16, 0-2) are new to the conference, and that's reflected in their status as MPSF cellar-dwellers. Their two wins have come against Diablo Valley College (10-9) and Fresno Pacific (10-7). I will be very surprised if the Spartans earn a conference win this season, and if they do manage to win a game, it won't be today against the #1 Bruins (18-0).
UCLA played like reigning national champions yesterday in defeating Stanford 12-8. However, I think we're likely to see a very different team today. I expect Coach Wright to give all of his starters a day off against San Jose State, which means that we'll likely see freshman Alex Wolf in goal, redshirt freshman Austin Rone and true freshman Spencer Farrar in attack, along with players like juniors Joey Fuentes and Patrick Woepse. Coach Wright has a very deep and talented squad; it should be fun to see some of his less experienced players get a chance to show what they can do. Unfortunately, for those not in San Jose, there's way to follow the action other than via twitter.
Since today's match is a mismatch, rather than preview the Spartans, let's play pregame guesses.
- True or false: the Bruins will score 20 or more goals today.
- Who will lead the Bruins in goals scored?
- In how many quarters will UCLA hold the Spartans scoreless?