Normally, I would start off an article about a UCLA team that’s heading to UCSB by writing something about the team travelling up the 101 to play, but, this morning, I can’t do that because the 101 Freeway is still shut down because of the Montecito mudslides.
That means, either the Bruin Women’s Water Polo team had to take the long way to Santa Barbara, or fly there, or take the ferry service that’s running between Ventura and Santa Barbara. Or, maybe, just maybe, new head coach Adam Wright decided to make this a real training trip by having the team swim from Ventura to Santa Barbara, although that would probably be cruel and I certainly don’t mean to make light of the terrible situation in Montecito.
However, the Bruins are getting to the UCSB campus this weekend, they will play an actual game this morning after facing the Chinese national team in an exhibition match yesterday.
Up first for the Bruins is #8 Michigan at 9 am. Then, this afternoon, UCLA faces Fresno Pacific, which lost to host UCSB 21-0 yesterday.
The Bruins slipped from a tie for second in this week’s CWPA Top 25 Poll despite soundly beating Loyola Marymount, 11-2, last Saturday morning. Apparently, it is disadvantageous from a poll perspective to playing a team when their players are fresh compared to playing them later in the day after they’ve already played a game because Southern Cal, which had been tied with UCLA for second was able to take advantage of playing a more tired Lion squad and beat them 18-0 to take sole possession of the number two spot.
LMU got on the scoreboard first less than a minute into the game, but Maddie Musselman tied it back up with 4:56 to go in the first quarter. Junior Grace Reego got the Bruins the lead for good on a power play goal and UCLA led 2-1 after one.
The second quarter was all UCLA. Bronte Halligan scored what would eventually prove to be the game-winner with 4:09 to go in the half and she added some insurance with another goal with just over a minute and a half to go. With just under 30 seconds left, freshman Roxy Wheaton gave the Bruins a 5-1.
Lexi Liebowitz and Devin Grab added two more goals for UCLA in the third quarter while LMU finally scored their second goal of the game and the Bruins led 7-2 after three.
In the fourth quarter, it was again all Bruins and all the Bruin scoring took place in the first four minutes. Musselman and Wheaton each scored their second goals of the game and Haley Evans scored her first of the game to give UCLA a 10-2 lead. Then, with 4:03 left, Grab picked up her second goal of the game and that was all she wrote as the Bruins came away with an 11-2 win.
This is your UCSB Winter Invitational open thread.