Non-conference play is all but in the books for the UCLA women’s water polo team. Now the arduous games of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation remain as the Bruins head down the home stretch.
No. 3 UCLA heads to Tempe, Ariz., this weekend to take on No. 7 Arizona State (4-6, 0-1 MPSF) in a conference match on Saturday. Save a Saturday afternoon matchup against unranked Cal Baptist (9-5), the Bruins (16-3, 0-1) will be facing top-10 teams in all of their remaining games this year.
While the Bruins have struggled to stay consistent this year ““ a home loss to Hawai’i serving as the most recent reminder ““ Priscilla Orozco has not. The senior attacker’s 12 goals at last weekend’s UC Irvine Invitational, including a season-high five against No. 2 USC, continued her streak of scoring in every game this year.
UCLA opened the year by competing in invitational tournaments, netting one first- and two third-place finishes. The Bruins won the Triton Invitational, but that field didn’t include No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 USC. In the two invitationals where all of the top three teams have been present, including the one in Irvine this weekend, the Bruins have finished in third behind the Cardinal and the Trojans.
If the Bruins want to avoid their season spiraling downward, the trip to the desert will have to be successful. That shouldn’t be much of a challenge if history holds up ““ UCLA has never lost in 12 meetings with Arizona State or two meetings with Cal Baptist.
Compiled by Ryan Menezes, Bruin Sports senior staff.