The Bruins will carry a five-game win streak into a collision with the nation’s top team.
No. 4 UCLA women’s water polo (21-3, 2-1 MPSF) will play against No. 1 Stanford (13-1, 0-1) on Saturday at noon at the Spieker Aquatics Center.
The three seniors on the team, attackers Devin Grab and Nicole Reynolds and center Alexis Angermund, will be honored for their time and commitment to UCLA women’s water polo.
The last time UCLA faced off against Stanford, the Cardinal handed the Bruins one of their three losses of the season in a 10-3 matchup. Stanford jumped out to a 6-1 lead by the end of the first half and never trailed for the rest of the game.
The Bruins’ only three goals of the game were scored by Grab, redshirt junior attacker Grace Reego and freshman attacker Myna Simmons.
UCLA has beaten five consecutive opponents, including No. 6 Arizona State. The Bruins’ most recent loss was against the No. 2 California Golden Bears.
Reynolds said she is going into this game the same way the Bruins have approached their last five games.
“It comes down to our defense and great communication,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been taking steps to improve those things the past couple of weeks.”
Freshman attacker Lexi Liebowitz said Stanford is one of the toughest teams out there.
“We’ve got to come in, have our goals in mind, assess the toughness of the team,” Liebowitz said. “But we have to look at them like every other team out there and come out with the intensity we have to play our game.”
In addition to keeping their winning streak alive, the Bruins have also been continuing to work on their 5-on-6 game.
In its last game against Arizona State, UCLA only let in one goal when in a 5-on-6 situation.
“We’ve been practicing our 5-on-6 during practices,” Liebowitz said. “We have a scout team that replicates other teams’ plays so we prepare really well in those situations.”
Reynolds said improving 5-on-6 play has been a goal of the season.
“It really comes down to making the right movements when we are tired,” Reynolds said. “This means being able to move in the right way no matter what they are doing – it comes down to how we move.”
In addition to working on 5-on-6, UCLA has put in a tremendous amount of effort to work on its 6-on-5 game.
“When we are tired, taking the time to execute the 6-on-5 is key to our game,” Reynolds said.
Coach Adam Wright was not immediately available for comment.