The last time the Bruins traveled to San Diego, they faced the Aztecs. It was a single Saturday game, the first of conference play, and the Bruins’ season had barely begun.
During that trip down to San Diego, the team was more focused on different parts of their game that still needed improvement, like converting six-on-five opportunities.
This weekend though, the Bruins will make their last trip of the season and head back down south to San Diego to contend for the national championship.
UCLA hopes to continue with the momentum it gained after winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships almost two weeks ago as it vies for the national championship.
The battle will not be easy, as the Bruins will have to go through two rounds of games before making it to the final round, and they will more than likely have to face opponents they have already played.
But the team is ready for battle and has been preparing all season long.
UCLA (21-3) begins the tournament today against the No. 7-seed Iona (24-11). The winner of this game will then move on to play the winner of the game between USC and Princeton.
Having almost two weeks since the Bruins played in the conference tournament, the team has been focusing on their game as a whole as they prepare for nationals.
“The mindset is to still try and to get a little bit better, to be a little sharper on details,” coach Brandon Brooks said.
With this type of mindset, the team has been working hard in and out of the water to stay focused and be prepared. Despite the intensity of the weekend, the team is excited and ready to play.
“I’m really excited for this weekend, it is exciting to play these last three games of the season before graduation,” said senior goalie Caitlin Dement.
Having a successful season thus far and looking to end the season well, the team plans to take the tournament game by game and play the best water polo they can.
“I think we have shown throughout the season that we can play in championship-level games, but we have to take it one game at a time,” said senior utility KK Clark.
“Iona will be really good, and so will the other teams we meet, so it’s important not to overlook anybody.”
With a national championship at stake, the Bruins reflect on how far they have come and what they can still achieve.
“We want to enjoy this time.” Brooks said. “This is what we work for, the chance to represent our school. Great competitors enjoy the biggest stages.”