The Bruins have only three more regular season games left before postseason play begins.
The No. 1 UCLA (17-1, 3-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) women’s water polo team begins its final stretch with a visit to Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, Arizona, to play the newly ranked No. 4 Arizona State Sun Devils (18-5, 2-2).
Arizona State was on a six-game winning streak before falling 11-4 to then-No. 1 USC last Saturday. That win streak included a narrow 7-6 victory over then-No. 4 California, which Arizona State replaced in the most recent rankings.
The Bruins are on a seven-game winning streak after returning home from last week’s Hawaii Invitational, a trip in which the team won all three of its games.
“That was a very good week for us. We played a few good games,” said sophomore attacker Lizette Rozeboom. We became more of a team. I think we’re taking it game-by-game and trying to beat Arizona, and then it’s on to the next one.”
The Bruins have a perfect 5-0 record in true away games this season; however, the Sun Devils hold the highest ranking out of all the away teams the Bruins have faced.
Offensively, the Bruins are on pace to be the highest-scoring team in school history after scoring 288 goals through 18 games.
That offense will have to go up against Arizona State’s redshirt junior goalkeeper, Mia Rycraw, however, who is fresh off an 11-save game. She has 163 total saves on the season and is averaging 9.9 saves per game.
“She’s a good goalie, really long and athletic,” said coach Brandon Brooks. “We are trying to beat her off a cross pass or a six-and-five and trying to limit the times that we have to beat her just picking up and shooting, or even just one-on-one.”
The Sun Devils have only totaled 234 goals through 23 games, and they’ll be going up against the Bruin defense that allows on average only 3.78 goals per game, making UCLA one of the best defensive teams in the country.
“I’d like to see us play strong. I’d like us to play enthusiastic,” said redshirt senior center Alexa Tielmann. “I think we are on a good track.”