While Bruin athletes continue competing in Westwood, here’s a look at some of the biggest news from the rest of the Pac-12 and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Grant Sugimura, assistant Sports editor
Seven of the top 10 men’s volleyball teams hail from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with Long Beach State taking the highest slot at No. 2.
After LBSU, fellow MPSF members BYU, Hawai’i and UCLA fill out the top five.
The 49ers recently swept the Anteaters and the Tritons while adding onto their conference win streak of 18 straight sets and seven straight matches.
Hawai’i jumped into the top five, leapfrogging UCLA, after extending its season-high tying seven straight match win streak in a 3-0 victory over UCSD. The Rainbow Warriors are off to their best start through 14 matches since 2005.
Up north, Stanford squeezed its way into the No. 6 slot after two five-set victories against UCLA and UCSB. Only three of the past 10 sets played by the Cardinal were decided by more than two points and five of those sets went into overtime.
Hanson Wang, assistant Sports editor
College tennis’ most prestigious indoor team tournament is coming up this Friday in Virginia, and the Pac-12 will send three representatives – No. 4 Cal, No. 7 UCLA and No. 9 USC.
All three schools hosted their own regionals during the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend in late January and qualified for the 16-team Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I National Men’s Team Indoor Championship. Cal (3-0) defeated Cal Poly 4-0 and Tulane 4-2, and USC (8-1) bested East Tennessee State 4-0 and San Diego 6-1.
Last year, Cal didn’t compete because a snowstorm prevented the team from flying to Duke for the Kick-Off Weekend, although USC and UCLA both qualified after sweeping their matches. At the National Team Indoors, the then-No. 4 Trojans lost to then-No. 5 Texas Christian University 4-3 in the quarterfinals and then-No. 9 Wake Forest 4-0 in the consolation round, while the then-No. 7 Bruins fell to then-No. 3 North Carolina 4-2 in the semifinals.
The Pac-12 is tied with the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference with three participants each, and the Big 12 leads with four.
Women’s water polo
Michael Hull, assistant Sports editor
Though the No. 3 UCLA women’s water polo team had the weekend off, 16 others went to La Jolla, California, to compete in the Triton Invitational.
No. 2 USC took the tournament crown, beating No. 5 Arizona State 12-2 in the first-place game, but it was the third-place game that stole the show Sunday evening.
No. 8 UC Irvine and No. 6 Michigan were caught in a back-and-forth duel that ended up having to be settled in overtime. The Anteaters’ Kelsey Thornton scored her first of four goals with a little over two minutes to go in the first quarter, putting UC Irvine up 1-0, but it was not to last.
The Wolverines struck for two goals before the second quarter began, giving them the lead at the end of one. Goals from Irvine’s McKenna Mitchell and Natalie Seidemann put the team back on top, only for Michigan to even the game with less than a minute to go, and the first half ended tied.
The start of the second half started off in Michigan’s favor, with the team going up by two, but the script flipped as Irvine rattled off four unanswered goals, two of which were Thornton’s.
In the second overtime period, Thornton scored the eventual game-winner with 35 seconds left, upsetting Michigan 8-7.
Irvine will have a chance for a second-straight upset Friday, as it takes on UCLA at Spieker Aquatics Center in the Bruins’ 2017 home opener.