Over the weekend, the Bruins were bested by the Golden Bears for the first time since 2012.
No. 4 UCLA women’s water polo (17-3, 0-1 Pac-12) fell to No. 1 California (14-3, 2-0) in its first of two matches this weekend. The match was held at Spieker Aquatics Complex, the Golden Bears’ home pool. In their second match, the Bruins beat No. 8 Pacific (7-6).
Sophomore attacker Bronte Halligan said after entering the second half of the California game with a lead, UCLA lost momentum.
“I think we gave up opportunities in the second half of the game that led to them winning,” Halligan said.
California’s attacker Anna Illes was the first to score, giving the Golden Bears an early lead. With just 22 seconds to go in the first quarter, UCLA freshman attacker Lexi Liebowitz answered, bringing the game to a tie entering the second quarter.
Both UCLA attackers junior Lizette Rozeboom and senior Devin Grab scored in the second quarter, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead as the game approached halftime. Cal answered with a late goal in the second half, followed by two more in the third quarter. The Bruins fell by the final score of 5-3.
Coach Adam Wright said the loss wasn’t enough to make the team lose its focus.
“When we planned our weekend schedule, we knew Cal was a good team, and this time we lost,” Wright said. “We were still ready to meet the Tigers (on Sunday).”
Halligan said that the loss will help UCLA see what it needs to work on.
“It was obviously disappointing to get a loss against Cal, and it’s hard to start the conference season like that,” Halligan said. “But, we can look at what we did wrong that game and improve.”
The Bruins returned to competition the following day for a match against Pacific. Once again, UCLA’s opponent had the home-pool advantage.
The Bruins bested the Tigers by a score of 12-8, due to goals scored by Rozeboom, Liebowitz, Grab, Halligan, sophomore attacker Maddie Musselman and freshman attacker Myna Simmons.
Rozeboom – who scored three goals and didn’t miss a shot – said that UCLA was confident entering the Pacific game, despite the loss that they suffered just 24 hours earlier.
“If we think about our losses too long, it will only slow down our progress,” Rozeboom said. “It’s a new day, it’s a new game, it’s an opportunity to show them who we are.”
Rozeboom said that following the weekend, she has a better idea of what she and the team need to work on.
“I want to work on my blocking,” Rozeboom said. “The team has a lot of room to grow, so I’m excited to see where we’ll be next week.”