The Bruins will be facing two top-10 teams this weekend, making it possible for them to take home more than one marquee win.
No. 4 UCLA women’s water polo (16-2, 0-0 Pac-12) will replay No. 1 California (13-3, 1-0 Pac-12) on Saturday and No. 8 Pacific (7-5) on Sunday. The Bruins won their first matchups against each team.
In its most recent game, UCLA defeated California at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational. The Bruins will take on the Golden Bears once again Saturday, but this time in Berkeley. The matchup will be at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley.
The game will be the first conference competition for UCLA this season.
The Golden Bears, who went 0-4 against the Bruins in 2017, beat No. 1 Stanford (11-1, 0-1 Pac-12) last weekend. California and Stanford are currently tied for No.1 in the NCAA.
Sophomore attacker Haley Evans said the team will be using the added pressure as fuel to beat the Golden Bears.
“Coming off of a win against Stanford, (California is) going to be super confident, so it’s a good time for us to come in,” Evans said. “We respect them, but we’re not intimidated by them. We already know that we can beat them. They are a very good team, but we’re a good team too.”
Coach Adam Wright said he expects the Golden Bears to be a challenge for the Bruins, and UCLA is not guaranteed a victory just because it has beaten California in the past.
“Does beating (California last weekend) have relevance to how we are going to do on Saturday? Absolutely not,” Wright said. “We’re going to see their best game of the year and we’ve got to be ready.”
UCLA defeated Pacific in January with a score of 10-4. The Bruins will be taking on the Tigers once again Sunday at the Chris Kjeldsen Pool in Stockton, California. This will be the first time that the UCLA women’s water polo program will be competing there.
“(Playing at Pacific) is a really great opportunity for us,” Wright said. “(Pacific) is a very hard place to play. They play a unique style of water polo; they’re very well-coached and they’ve got a good team. We’ve got to be ready for them no matter what happens the day before.”
The Bruins had a break from competition last weekend. Sophomore attacker Brooke Maxson said the team was able to focus more on training as a result.
“Last week, we pushed pretty hard since we (didn’t) have any games that weekend,” Maxson said. “We did a lot of conditioning and tried to get in better shape to be able to play the whole game and stick with it.”
Wright said the extra training days gave UCLA more than enough time to prepare.
“Our workload was able to be a little bit stronger because we didn’t play last weekend,” Wright said. “If we haven’t progressed over the last 12 days, then things are going to be really difficult for us (at California).”