UCLA Olympic Sports Update: November 21st


It was a fairly disappointing weekend for many of UCLA’s Olympic sports, including a devastating defeat, so let’s tackle those and what’s happening with the other Bruin sports that don’t play on the gridiron:

WOMEN’S SOCCER:  In a shocking, stunning, and disappointing turn of events, the UCLA women’s soccer team saw their season end this past Friday night at Drake Stadium as the University of San Diego beat the Bruins on penalty kicks, 3-2, after the two teams went through regulation play and overtime tied at 1-1.

The Toreros move on to the next round while for UCLA, well, it’s safe to say that they underachieved after such a good season filled with high expectations; I wouldn’t have been surprised of at least some of the Bruin players were crying at the end while watching USD celebrate; I may well have if I were in their shoes.

The Bruins finished with a record of 16-1-4.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL:  The Arizona Wildcats have proved to be an Achilles’ heel and a thorn in these Bruins side, as they lost for the second time – got swept actually – by U of A at home in the John Wooden Center this past Friday.

In a redemption of sorts, UCLA turned around and beat Arizona State on Sunday night to up their Pac-12 record to 17-4.

The #2 ranked Bruins will face top-ranked USC on Friday, November 25, at John Wooden Center, one night before the football team’s battle with the Trojans, which makes it part of a Crosstown Rivalry weekend.

Needless to say, the place will be packed with UCLA fans who will like nothing more than to see those Women of Troy defeated.

Can the Bruins, like their football counterparts, rise up to the challenge?

We’ll see this Friday night.

MEN’S WATER POLO:  In what I really hope is not going to be a pattern for this coming weekend, the men’s water polo team lost their showdown to USC at the Spieker Aquatic Center on campus, 9-6, completing a negative trifecta that saw the women’s soccer team and the women’s volleyball team lose on the same night.

They performed better on defense in beating UC Santa Barbara the next night, 11-4, which leaves UCLA with a record of 6-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, good for 3rd place behind the Trojans and Cal. They sport a record of 20-4 overall.

These Bruins will now play in the MPSF Tournament, which they are hosting, this coming weekend. As a #3 seed, they will face #6 seed Pepperdine in the first round on November 25.

Assuming they win that game, UCLA will face the winner of the Cal – UC Irvine game, with the winner most likely facing USC in the finals with an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament at stake.

As it’s always good to win the MPSF Tournament so they won’t be at the mercy of the NCAA selection committee, it’s imperative that the Bruins win, or at least make it to the finals.

MEN’S SOCCER:  Unlike their female counterparts, the men’s soccer team got by their second round of the NCAA tournament yesterday at Drake Stadium, beating Delaware 1-0 to move on to the third round, where they will face Rutgers on Sunday, November 27.

That game will also be at Drake.

Chandler Hoffman scored the game’s only goal for UCLA in the 83rd minute, assuring that their season will continue.

The Bruins are now 16-4-1.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:  In what was totally expected, the UCLA Women’s Basketball team got slaughtered by top-ranked Baylor, 83-50, in the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT this past Thursday in Waco, TX.

The Bruins actually had a lead in the first four-and-a half minutes of the game before reality set in in the form of an 11-2 Baylor run.

Brittney Griner, the Bears’  6′ 8″ All-American center who is generally considered the best women’s basketball player in the country, was everything that was advertised as she scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked six Bruin shots, which contributed to their shooting just 32.2 % for the whipping, I mean, game.

Rebekah Gardner was a bright spot for Cori Close’s team, leading UCLA with 15 points.

The Bruins will next go to the San Fernando Valley this weekend to take part in the Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament Classic, hosted by Cal State Northridge. They will plat West Virginia on Friday, November 25, and will face either the CSUN Matadors or Colgate on the 26th.

AS THIS IS BEAT ‘SC WEEK:  It’s my obligation to announce the annual Beat ‘SC Bonfire and Rally will be held on campus on Monday, November 21. The festivities will start at 7:00 p.m., with entertainment being provided by the UCLA Band and Spirit Squad among others.

Bruin football coach Rick Neuheisel and selected members of that team will also speak to pump up the crowd for the big showdown with the Trojans at the Coliseum this coming Saturday night.