NCAA Championship season is upon us, with multiple UCLA teams hitting the road to try to bring championship No. 106 to Westwood. Daily Bruin senior staffers and Battle first-timers Rebecca Lee and Ryan Menezes handicap the teams’ chances in their tournaments.
The men’s tennis team heads to Athens, Ga. on Friday. Last year they choked in the Final Four; will we see a repeat?
Ryan Menezes: They won’t get that far this year. The Bruins lost to upcoming opponent Stanford earlier this season, but that was without Holden Seguso or Haythem Abid. As a healthy team, they’ll take down Stanford this time, but that’s as far as they’ll go.
No. 1 Virginia, which hasn’t lost since February, likely awaits them.
Rebecca Lee: The Bruins might be able to get past the Cardinal, but will most definitely be stopped by Virginia. Billy Martin’s squad never found any kind of consistent rhythm or momentum going into the postseason, with close losses against Arizona, Stanford and Baylor earlier this season. The Bruins will edge the Cardinal on Friday, if they’re lucky.
Women’s tennis cruised through their first two rounds at the LATC; how will they do in Athens?
Menezes: Don’t get fooled by the seeds or the records here. UCLA might be the sevetnth overall seed, but they have only three losses on the year. Hearts will be broken on Tobacco Road as Yasmin Schnack leads the Bruins past Duke in the Round of 16 and probable opponent North Carolina in the quarterfinals.
Lee: Don’t get fooled by the seeds or the records here. UCLA might be the sevetnth overall seed, but they have only three losses on the year. Hearts will be broken on Tobacco Road as Yasmin Schnack leads the Bruins past Duke in the Round of 16 and probable opponent North Carolina in the quarterfinals.
Last year, the men’s golf team had a good time when they won their NCAA Regional in Kentucky. Will they enjoy their trip to Connecticut this year?
Menezes: Most definitely. Here’s a scenario where you can believe the seeding. Not only is UCLA the No. 1 seed in the East Regional, they just have to finish within the top five to advance to the NCAA Championships in Chattanooga. There won’t be any Pac-10 schools in the way of the Bruins, so look for them to win the regional and go to Chattanooga on a high note.
Lee: The Regional in men’s collegiate golf is misleading. The Bruins may be the No. 1 seed in the East, but their performance this season certainly has not been deserving of that number. There are six different regions, and that’s as good as UCLA gets:
No. 6 in the nation. If the Bruins enjoy success at the regional this week, it won’t carry over to Nationals in June.
Women’s golf fell short of their NCAA Championship aspirations last year, finishing in second. Can they do one better this year?
Menezes: Carrie Forsyth’s team, the concensus No. 1 team in the country, is definitely the best shot that UCLA has at championship
No. 106 coming to Westwood this year. This team has finished runner-up for two straight years, and even had the lead at NCAAs for a short time last year. This team has been knocking on the door, and this will be the year they break through.
Lee: Last year’s team may have had All-Americans Tiffany Joh and Maria Jose Uribe, but this team, though much younger, has been consistent all year. UCLA finished in the top two in every tournament this season except two. Stephanie Kono has played phenomenally all year, and if the Bruins can make clutch putts in Wilmington, N.C., No. 106 will arrive in Westwood.
Women’s water polo didn’t win a title for the first time in six years. When will they win another?
Menezes: Next year, book it. The Bruins might have been dethroned for the first time in six years, but hope is not lost in Westwood, especially for a team that will return every single player from this year’s roster. One rough game doomed their season, but their MPSF Championship run was a glimpse into the potential of this team.
Lee: They’ll win when Adam Krikorian becomes bored with winning with Team USA and comes back to UCLA. No disrespect to Brandon Brooks; he was simply outmatched by his LMU counterpart Friday in San Diego. The Bruins hit a stroke of luck against Stanford and USC in the MPSF Tournament, but won’t be so fortunate next year. Come back, AK.