The Bruins are on schedule to face the toughest team they’ve seen so far – the Michigan Wolverines, a team that made it to the NCAA quarterfinals last year.
No. 2 UCLA women’s water polo (1-0) will play in the UCSB Invitational this weekend against No. 7 Michigan (3-2), Fresno Pacific (0-0), No. 21 UCSB (0-0) and No. 17 UC San Diego (0-0).
With the loss of seven key seniors and Adam Wright replacing Brandon Brooks as head coach, the team has had to adjust to a variety of new changes.
“We’re really just trying to focus on this team and not look backward at all, just moving forward,” said redshirt junior attacker Grace Reego. “I think the changes have been really positive changes for us. But because there has been a transition, it will take time for habits to form. … Time will tell.”
Wright said he believes that these games will be a learning opportunity for the team, as well as himself, to explore the group dynamic.
Reego said that she’s excited for everyone to get a lot of chances and that everyone is willing to step up to their opportunities.
“I’m really excited to have us play more games together and I think the best thing we can get out of it is how consistent we can be over a long period of time,” Reego said.
Junior attacker Lizette Rozeboom has complete faith in the team adjusting its positions and getting comfortable with game-time routine.
“I think that, right now, our biggest thing is that everyone is as important as anybody else,” Rozeboom said. “I think that it’s great to see that everyone knows their roles, but all have the same values.”
In the team’s first game against Loyola Marymount and in the two exhibition games against USC, freshman goalie Jahmea Bent started. Freshman attackers Lexi Liebowitz and Roxy Wheaton logged a total of three goals in the team’s first game, giving the freshman class an unforgettable start to their UCLA water polo careers.
“No matter who is playing or not playing, we have a chance to compete against anybody,” Wright said.
The Bruins will scrimmage against the Chinese National Team in the first round of the invitational at 4:30 p.m. Friday then play two games each Saturday and Sunday.