Three weeks and 12 matches of the season elapsed before the UCLA women’s water polo team played its first home match, but players said the wait was worth it.
“It’s nice,” said sophomore attacker Danielle Ferraro. “After a couple of weekends away and just practicing in our pool for the past three weeks, it’s been nice to perform in front of our home crowd.”
The Bruins put on a strong performance for their hometown fans, earning a convincing 18-3 victory over Cal Lutheran Saturday afternoon at Spieker Aquatics Center.
Freshman defender Alys Williams said that she shared Ferraro’s excitement to have the team play at Spieker and was surprised by the number of fans that came out to support the team.
With this home victory, the Bruins (12-1) extended their streak of home opener victories to 10. The last time UCLA lost a home opener was in 2003 to crosstown rival USC.
Cal Lutheran found themselves trailing the home team at the start of the first period. The Bruins took a quick 5-0 lead after the first quarter and pushed their advantage to 11-1 by the end of the first half, giving the team’s bench players an opportunity to get minutes in the pool.
“We took care of business and we got out to a lead early,” said coach Brandon Brooks.
“The people that work so hard every day in practice and don’t necessarily see as much time in the closer games got a chance to get in there and score some goals.”
The Bruins had nine different players score goals Saturday. Senior attacker Gisselle Naranjo, sophomore attacker Emily Donohoe, Ferraro and Williams each had a hat trick.
Williams said she believes it’s a great opportunity to have the team execute the plays they practice, especially for the players who have rarely seen minutes in games.
“I think we played really well as a team,” Williams said.
“Everyone got playing time, everyone made good passes (and) made good shots. I think we came together really well.”