UCLA Men's Water Polo
Opponent: #8 Long Beach State (9-12, 1-5)
When: 12:00 PM PT, Sunday, November 8, 2015
Where: Lindgren Aquatics Center, Long Beach, CA
Live Stats: None
The Bruins keep grinding out victories against top-10 opponents. On Friday it was #6 UC Santa Barbara that fell to UCLA. The Gauchos managed to stay close in the first quarter, and trailed by just one goal before the Bruins scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter. With a 5-goal cushion heading into the second half. UCLA killed the game in the second half to wrap up a 9-4 victory.
Junior All-American Garrett Danner was outstanding in goal for the Bruins, registering 14 saves. Juniors Ryder Roberts and Patrick Fellner paced the UCLA attack with two goals apiece. Max Irving, Chancellor Ramirez, Anthony Daboub, Alex Roelse, and Gordon Marshall were the other Bruins to find the back of the net.
UCLA is now 23-0 this season, and 7-0 in the MPSF. The Bruins current winning streak is now 26 games, the second-longest streak in the history of the program. For what it's worth, it's been over two years since the Bruins lost an MPSF regular season game.
The Bruins are in Long Beach this afternoon for a midday match against the eighth-ranked 49ers (9-12, 1-5). This is the first official meeting between the Bruins and the 49ers since UCLA was upset by the Beach in the MPSF Tournament semifinals in Long Beach last year. That was also the Bruins most recent loss, and I have no doubt that it will be on the minds of Coach Wright's team when the return to the scene of the crime today.
It's a new year, though, and both teams have changed. UCLA is arguably stronger than last season, and the 49ers seem to have taken a small step back. Long Beach State is currently in a tie for eighth place in the MPSF--far below its fourth place finish last year.
With a showdown with the Trojans looming next weekend, the Bruins need to stay focused and grind out another win this afternoon. Unless UCLA takes its eye off the ball against the 49ers today, the Bruins should still be undefeated when they square off against USC in the final game of the regular season.
UCLA Men's Soccer
Opponent: Washington (7-4-6, 3-2-3)
When: 5:00 PM PT, Sunday, November 8, 2015
Where: Drake Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Audio: Bruin Live Audio
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
Official Match Preview | Match Notes
GAMEDAY! It's senior day in Westwood as the #Bruins are set to take on Washington at 5:00pm PT. #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/39QP2hzuvK— UCLA Men's Soccer (@UCLAMSoccer) November 8, 2015
One down, two to go. Fridays 4-1 demolition of the Beavers moved the Bruins one step closer to postseason play. Today's match against fourth-place Washington represents an opportunity for UCLA to take a much bigger step towards that goal. A win by the Bruins would inch them ahead of Cal into second place in the Pac-12, and would virtually seal an NCAA tournament bid with only a game against last-place SDSU to navigate.
Although the Bruins didn't manage to keep a clean sheet against Oregon State's weak attack, their overall performance was impressive. UCLA outshot OSU 23-4, and the Beavers only managed to put one shot on goal in 90 minutes. Of course, that shot found the back of the net--let's not forget how generous the Bruins' defense has been all season.
At the other end of the pitch, the Bruins were rampant. Seyi Adekoya scored the first, assisted by Abu Danladi and Jose Hernandez. Early in the second half, Jordan Vale got on the scoresheet when an exchange of passes between Felix Vobejda and Danladi presented Vale with a chance from close range. Freshman Jackson Yueill added a third goal five minutes later. When the Beavers finally found the back of the net in the 85th minute, the Bruins replied shortly after through Larry Ndjock, with Willie Raygoza earning the assist.
Juan Cervantes was back in goal after serving a one-game suspension, but he saw little action between the posts; in fact, he didn't register a save in 90 minutes.
Like the Beavers, the Huskies struggle to score goals. Washington is the lowest scoring team in the conference, averaging less than a goal per game. However, the Huskies are a strong defensive team with a goals against average that is three times smaller than UCLA's. That said, in the previous meeting between these two teams, two overtimes were needed to produce a winner, with UCLA edging the contest 3-2. So as good as Washington is defensively, there will probably be goals for both sides today.
A win for the Bruins today is probably enough to ensure postseason play for UCLA. However, a loss doesn't necessarily mean that the Bruins won't get an NCAA tournament invitation. With two games left, UCLA needs at least one win, in my opinion. A draw today might be enough, but it certainly wouldn't impress the committee, or UCLA fans for that matter.