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UCLA Olympic Sports Friday: Beat SC!

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UCLA Women's Soccer closes out its season this evening against crosstown rival USC. But that's not the only game in town tonight. UCLA Women's Volleyball hosts Utah at Pauley Pavilion and UCLA Men's Water Polo plays UC Santa Barbara under the lights at Spieker Aquatics Center.

@UCLAWSoccer

UCLA Women's Soccer

Opponent: #14 Southern Cal (13-5-1, 8-2-0)

When: 6:00 PM PT, Friday, November 6, 2015

Where: Drake Stadium, Los Angeles, CA

AudioBruin Live Audio

Video: Pac-12 Networks

Live StatsUCLA StatBroadcast

Official Match Preview | Match Notes

UCLA is playing for pride and for its senior today. The Bruins have an 8-9-1 overall record--the most losses in program history--and currently sit in seventh place in the Pac-12. It's been a very disappointing season for a program that had only two losses total in the previous two seasons.

Two years ago, the Bruins won the Pac-12 title, finishing 9-0-2 in conference play while the Trojans finished 11th. This season, Southern Cal is entrenched in second place and sports a 8-2-0 conference mark. Times have changed dramatically for both programs.

After losing nine senior starters last season, the Bruins will say goodbye to six more today, including Taylor Smith, Kodi Lavrusky, and Madison Tye. Smith led the forward line for the Bruins in 2013 when UCLA won the national championship, and in case you've forgotten, Lavrusky scored the winning goal that day. Tye leads the Bruins in minutes played this season after spending the past two seasons watching Abby Dahlkemper and Megan Oyster patrol the center of UCLA's formidable defense. I have no doubt that it's been a very frustrating season for Coach Cromwell, her staff and all of the players, but it must have been particularly difficult for these seniors who've experienced a couple of years of extraordinary success.

For those three seniors, and for seniors Belden Long, Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski, and Taylor Aldrete, this is their opportunity to end their UCLA careers with not just a win, but a win over Southern Cal. Let's hope they go out on a high note today.

GoBruins!

UCLA Men's Water Polo

Opponent: #6 UC Santa Barbara (14-8, 3-4)

When: 7:00 PM PT, Friday, November 6, 2015

Where: Spieker Aquatics Center, Los Angeles, CA

AudioNone

Video: None

Live StatsNone

Official Match Preview

On Sunday, the top-ranked Bruins (22-0, 6-0) dismantled #2 Pacific, 11-5. The Bruins have now defeated two different second-ranked teams (USC and Pacific), and they've beaten the third-ranked team (California) three times and the fourth-ranked team (Stanford) twice. With just three games left in the regular season, the Bruins' chances of heading into the postseason with a 25-0 record are looking better every day.

To get there, the Bruins have to take one game at a time. The sixth-ranked Gauchos (14-8, 3-4) are the first obstacle to reaching that goal, and despite their impressive ranking, the Gauchos are a clear second-tier team in the MPSF.

Nothing seems to faze Coach Adam Wright's squad. They remained calm when they started slowly and fell behind against Cal two weeks ago. They've dealt with odd starting times; they've dealt with Coach Wright's squad rotation that gives generous playing time to backups when the Bruins have played against weaker opponents. The Bruins are a mentally tough group, so it's highly unlikely that playing under the lights will be a factor against the Gauchos.

Tonight's game isn't a formality, but it would be a very big upset if UC Santa Barbara leaves Westwood with a win. I expect to see UCLA jump out to an early lead and then, in the second half, grind out the victory, bringing the Bruins one game closer to winning the MPSF title.

Go BRUINS!

UCLA Women's Volleyball

Opponent: Utah (9-14, 3-9)

When: 7:00 PM PT, Friday, November 6, 2015

Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA

AudioBruin Live Audio

Video: UCLA Live Stream

Live StatsUCLA StatBroadcast

Official Match Preview | Match Notes

It wasn't a surprise that the Bruins beat Colorado 3-0 on Wednesday. The surprise was the way in which the Bruins won the match. Jordan Anderson was back on the court after getting a rest against Washington, but Jessyka Ngauamo held onto her starting spot at the expense of Reily Buechler. Ngauamo made the most of the opportunity with 19 kills to lead the Bruins. Jordan Anderson's workload was reduced, and she managed 10 kills and a .304 hitting percentage.

Setter Ryann Chandler missed another game due to injury, and Zana Muno continued her fine work as Chandler's replacement, registering another double-double (42 assists, 14 digs) in the process.

Middle blocker Claire Felix led the Bruins with a dazzling .600 hitting percentage that resulted in nine kills without an error.

Rachel Inouye led the Bruins' strong serving performance against the Buffs. Inouye had four aces, and Kyra Rogers added two of her own. UCLA had three players tally double-digits in digs; Karly Drolson and Taylor Formico each had 13 in addition to Zana Muno's 14.

The victory against Colorado wasn't perfect by any means, but it was a rare opportunity to see the strength and depth of the Bruins. UCLA is now 19-4 overall, and 10-3 in the Pac-12--good for a share of third place in the conference.

The Utes shouldn't present a particularly tricky challenge for the Bruins tonight. Utah (9-14, 3-9) is in 11th place in the Pac-12. However, after losing nine straight conference matches, the Utes are riding a two-game winning streak after a pair of 3-1 wins over the Oregon schools. Still, the Bruins have been playing consistently well for over a month, and have plenty of talent and depth to handle the Utes. I'll be surprised if the Bruins need more than three sets to wrap up the match.

Go BRUINS!