Last weekend’s Triton Invitational was a chance for the UCLA women’s water polo team to warm up for more challenging opponents. As the highest-ranked team in the tournament, the Bruins met expectations by winning all four of their games.
While a weekend sweep is always an accomplishment, it is evident the No. 3 Bruins (12-1) feel they have not yet reached their full potential. In that sense, the tournament was a success not only because of the results but also the developments the team made.
“I think that tournament was more of a team-building thing,” senior defender Kelly Easterday said. “We were trying to work through a lot of the little things, like our 6-on-5s and working on our half-court defense. So, in that respect, I think we accomplished a lot.”
Saturday, UCLA gets another nonconference test with a match against No. 11 UC Irvine (6-2). Despite a good overall record and a top-four ranking, the team’s wins have not all come easily.
Though they are far from a finished product, there’s little doubt in the Bruins’ that these games will prepare them for the country’s toughest conference, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
“I think one of our strengths is our speed,” senior attacker Priscilla Orozco said. “We have really fast girls and we have plenty of opportunities on counterattacks to get quick goals.”
In UCLA’s game against UC Irvine last season, the Bruins came away with an 8-5 win led by four goals from Orozco. This team has shown more progress than last year’s squad, and they have an attitude that reflects that. It is no surprise that they are confident heading into the weekend.
“By no means are we close to where we want to go,” coach Brandon Brooks said. “We have a lot to improve on, but I think we are improving on the stuff we want to improve on.”