Thursday, May 28

Around the League: Top teams gather to compete in men’s water polo, women’s volleyball

No. 17 Stanford is the last team to defeat Pac-12 leader No. 7 Washington – following a five-set win in late September, the Cardinal swept the Huskies 3-0 Wednesday evening. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

While Bruin athletes continue competing in Westwood, here’s a look at some of the biggest news from the rest of the Pac-12.

Men’s water polo

Michael Hull, assistant Sports editor

Last weekend was No. 1 versus No. 2, this weekend it’s No. 2 versus No. 3.

The Golden Bears will be on the road this weekend, facing the Trojans under the Uytengsu Aquatics Center lights. Like UCLA’s game against California last weekend, it will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.

USC beat No. 6 Long Beach State last week 13-8 in the 49ers’ home pool, and by the time it plays Cal on Saturday, it will have played five games in a row against teams outside the top five at the time – the Trojans also have an evening game Thursday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

After falling to the Bruins 7-6 Saturday, the Bears had just more than a day before taking on the No. 4 Pacific Tigers. Their offensive production doubled, and they won 14-10.

The last time these two teams played each other was in the semifinal of the Mountain Pacific Invitational earlier this season. Cal goalie Lazar Andric finished the game with 13 saves, and the team’s leading scorer, Johnny Hooper, had four goals.

After holding USC to no goals for around 15 minutes, the Bears were leading 8-3 heading into the final quarter. Four unanswered goals from USC made the game 8-7, but Cal would hold its ground and score two more to put the game out of reach.

Last year, the Bears fell to the Trojans two out of their three matchups, including in the NCAA tournament.

Men’s soccer

Grant Sugimura, assistant Sports editor

This week, No. 9 Stanford has a chance to clinch its third consecutive conference title Sunday against No. 16 Washington. The Cardinal are 6-0-1 in the Pac-12, while Washington sits at 4-2.

UCLA took the conference title every season from 2002 to 2005. This was the last time a team was so dominant in the Pac-12. But now, Stanford is in a position to become the second squad to win at least three consecutive titles. To do so, the Cardinal would either need to win Thursday, paired with a Husky loss, or win at the aforementioned matchup Sunday.

Overall, the Pac-12 has three teams in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America top 25 poll this week. Along with Stanford and Washington, San Diego State holds the No. 22 position. UCLA received four votes but did not crack the top 25.

Women’s volleyball

David Gottlieb, assistant Sports editor

This time last week, there was a seven-way tie for second place in the conference. The Pac-12 picture has gotten just a little bit clearer in the past seven days.

No. 12 UCLA, No. 18 Washington State and No. 20 Oregon now sit in a three-way tie for second place, right behind No. 7 Washington.

The Huskies risked a seven-game winning streak Wednesday with a trip to Stanford. Entering the match, the No. 17 Cardinal were the last team to beat Washington – a five-set match on Sept. 28.

Stanford came up with another win Wednesday to make the Pac-12 race that much tighter. The straight-sets loss puts just half a game between the Huskies and the three teams tied for second place.

Of the six matches that the three teams tied for second will play this weekend, only two will feature teams of a winning record: UCLA will play No. 21 Utah and Washington State will play Stanford.

[Related: Women’s volleyball defeats Oregon Ducks in five-set nailbiter]

The Bruins’ next chance to take a shot at one of the top four teams in the Pac-12 won’t come until the Ducks visit Westwood on Nov. 18. UCLA beat Oregon on the road 3-2 in their last matchup.


Hull joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2015 and contributed until 2017. He was an assistant Sports editor for the 2016-2017 academic year and spent time on the men's water polo, women's water polo, women's soccer, track and field and rowing beats.

Sugimura joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2015 and contributed until 2017. He was an assistant Sports editor for the 2016-2017 academic year and spent time on the women's basketball, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, beach volleyball, men's soccer and swim and dive beats.

Gottlieb joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2014 and contributed until he graduated in 2018. He was the Sports editor for the 2017-2018 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2016-2017 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, women's volleyball, men's golf and women's golf beats.

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