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Bruin Bites: Will UCLA Bring Home Championship #114 This Fall?

Each of UCLA's four non-revenue fall sports has a championship pedigree. Will any of the 2016 iterations match its legacy?

UCLA Men's Water Polo looks to three-peat in 2016
UCLA Men's Water Polo looks to three-peat in 2016

Football and basketball are not the only sports at UCLA and are not the only ones we cover around here at Bruins Nation. BN has a history of following, covering, and supporting UCLA's "Olympic" and/or "non-revenue" sports. To paraphrase Coach, we love athletes performing at their best when the best is required, whatever the sport.

And UCLA has a rich history of fielding outstanding teams in these sports. So, today's Bruin Bites will feature tidbits and links regarding the four OTHER fall sports at UCLA, which have won a total of 19 championships (out of UCLA's 113 total championships) combined.

Men's Soccer (NCAA Champs - '85, '90, '97, '02)

The 2016 UCLA Men's Soccer team has been picked to finish in first place in the PAC 12 Conference this season. Defender, Michael Amick; midfielders, Jose Hernandez and Jackson Yueill; and forwards, Abu Danladi and Seyi Adekoya, a total of five Bruins, were picked to the PAC 12 Preseason All Conference Team.

Of course, preseason accolades are one thing. Performance is another. UCLA had a championship caliber roster last season and greatly underperformed, going 11-9-1, falling to Seattle, 1-0, in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament.

Can Coach Jorge Salcedo's squad bounce back and have a year all UCLA futbol aficionados can be proud of? We will start to learn the answer to that question in eight days. After a scrimmage tomorrow in Fort Wayne against the University of Indiana, UCLA kicks off its season at home against Maryland on Friday, August 26th.

Women's Soccer (NCAA Champions - '13)

Alas, USA wunderkind Mallory Pugh, who has already represented her country on the United States Women's National Team and scored an Olympic goal in Rio, setting records along the way, will not be playing for the UCLA Bruin Women's Soccer team in 2016.

Pugh, who made her first national team appearance earlier this year, has decided to defer her enrollment until winter quarter, and instead play for the USWNT U-20 team this fall, as that team competes for the U-20 Women's World Cup. Although Pugh no doubt would have helped UCLA greatly this season, we wish her the best of luck representing our nation this fall. I cannot wait to see Pugh in a UCLA uniform in 2017.

UCLA does, however, have another highly touted player from the Olympics coming to Westwood THIS season in Canadian international, Jessie Fleming. Fleming, who will be representing Team Canada in its quest for a bronze medal Friday in Rio (kickoff is at 9 a.m. PT), also played in the 2015 Women's World Cup last summer.

Fleming, an attacking midfielder, is looking to boost a UCLA squad that suffered a significant setback last season, going 8-10-1, and missing the postseason. Both Fleming and another incoming freshman, Anika Rodriguez, a forward/attacking midfielder, have been named to the Top Drawer Soccer Preseason All Freshman team.

The duo of Fleming and Rodriguez hope to bolster a team that has some veterans, including senior midfielder/defender Gabbi Miranda, senior midfielder Annie Alvarado, senior foward Darian Jenkins, redshirt junior defender Zoey Goralsk, and junior goalkeeper, Siri Ervik.

Let's hope that Head Coach Amanda Cromwell will right the ship, and deliver the type of result in her 4th year that she did in her first two  seasons at UCLA, when the Bruins won one a national championship and only suffered two losses in two seasons.

UCLA kicks off the season Friday (sans Fleming) against San Diego State in San Diego, at 7 p.m. PT. You can follow along with the game via live statistics. Go Bruins!

Women's Volleyball (NCAA Champions - '84, '90, '91, '11)

Coming off a 4th place finish in the PAC 12 in 2015, the UCLA Women's Volleyball team has been picked to finish second in conference in 2016. Stanford is picked to finish first.

This UCLA team will be experienced, led by three All Americans from last year, Taylor Formico, Jordan Anderson, and Claire Felix.

The Bruins kick off the season next weekend at the LMU Invitational, first facing Niagra on Friday, August 26th.

Men's Water Polo (NCAA Champs - '69, '71, '72, '95, '96, '99, '00, '04, '14, '15)

UCLA's Men's Water Polo team won UCLA's 113th national championship last year, going undefeated (30-0) and capping off the season by beating the hated USC Trogans, 10-7, at the Spieker Aquatics Center on the UCLA campus. #113 was on the heels of another national championship in 2014, as the Bruins won back-to-back championships in Men's Water Polo for the fourth time.

In 2016, UCLA will look to three-peat. The Bruins return seven, count 'em, seven All Americans to the pool, including National Player of the Year, goalkepper Garrett Danner. The Bruins are loaded and are picked to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Since the MPSF has won all 24 national championships since its first season in 1992, UCLA should also be considered the favorite to take hope the national championship hardware this season.

The UCLA Bruin Men's Water Polo season hits the pool over Labor Day Weekend, with the Bruins scheduled to play six games in two days (five that count and one of which is a scrimmage against Stanford).

I hope that you enjoyed today's Bruin Bites. Do you think one or more of the teams discussed in this article will bring home a national championship this fall?

Which team(s) are you most excited about?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Go Bruins!