Sunday, May 31

Women’s water polo focuses on defense

There will be no tapes to watch or plays to break down to give UCLA a leg up against its opponents at the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite this weekend.

The UCLA women’s water polo team will be facing Pacific and UCSB on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Coach Brandon Brooks has not seen either team since he was the Bruins’ assistant coach in 2008.

UCLA’s other opponents in the tournament, Concordia and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, haven’t been in the water with UCLA (4-0) in recent history.

After sweeping the Michigan Kick-Off last weekend, UCLA is faced with another four games in a span of 48 hours.

Brooks said the team needs to improve its counter attack from last weekend’s performance, but also stressed the importance of starting the season on the right path.

“Even though we will always have stuff we want to work on, we started with a very good beginning weekend,” Brooks said.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sami Hill said she has faith that if something is not working defensively for the Bruins, the team will be able to recover and adjust on the fly.

“I try to keep positive even if I got scored on,” Hill said. “We just need to stay positive – you can’t just give up even though you have a bad first quarter.”

After admitting the team needed some improvement, Hill said that it is only the beginning of the season and the young players are still getting to know one other.

“I think that we will be working on teamwork and putting people in the right places and setting up for goals,” Hill said.

Goals have not been an issue for UCLA in games against Pacific in the past, considering the Bruins’ 30-5 win against the Tigers in 2007 and 13-6 win against them in 2008.

While a lot can change in five years, UCLA is confident in its ability to take opponents as they come, working on its team dynamic all the while.

“We need to focus on (our awareness) more, but I think once we get down our communication we should be able to execute different plays and different defenses that we want to run,” sophomore attacker Emily Donohoe said.

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