The women’s water polo matchup at Spieker Aquatics Center pitted a surging California team against a struggling UCLA squad. The result changed little in the perceptions of the two.
The Golden Bears coasted to a 7-3 win at the Bruins’ home pool on Saturday afternoon, using the win to remain undefeated in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.
Coming off of a win over USC, No. 2 Cal (16-3, 4-0 MPSF) got off to a slow start. No. 4 UCLA (18-4, 1-2) took a quick 1-0 lead on junior utility KK Clark’s penalty shot, but that was the only time the Bruins would be ahead. Cal rattled off four straight goals while holding the Bruins scoreless for the second and third quarters. The Bears added three more goals in the fourth to seal the blowout victory.
Cal, which earned a preseason No. 5 ranking in the MPSF Coaches’ Poll, wasn’t expected to contend this year. But the win over the then-No. 2 Women of Troy last week served notice to the rest of the country and earned the Bears a bump in the rankings. Saturday was simply another step in the right direction.
UCLA’s season, on the other hand, is a different story. The Bruins have done little to prove they can beat a top team. Saturday’s game was the second-straight home loss in conference play for UCLA, which is already far behind their top competition ““ No. 1 Stanford, Cal, No. 3 USC and No. 4 Hawai’i ““ in the MPSF standings.
The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Bruins, as they head to Palo Alto to face the Cardinal on March 26, with a home match against USC looming a week after.
Compiled by Ryan Menezes, Bruin Sports senior staff.