Monday, October 15

Weekend in Preview: Men’s water polo celebrates 114th title, women’s tennis heads to Vegas


Women’s tennis
Dylan Dsouza, Daily Bruin Contributor

Five members of the UCLA women's tennis team will be traveling to Las Vegas this weekend to participate in the Freeman Memorial Championships. They will be led by No. 16 sophomore Ena Shibahara, who came into the preseason rankings as the top-ranked player. (Daily Bruin file photo)
Five members of the UCLA women’s tennis team will be traveling to Las Vegas this weekend to participate in the Freeman Memorial Championships. They will be led by No. 16 sophomore Ena Shibahara, who came into the preseason rankings as the top-ranked player. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The No. 17 UCLA women’s tennis team will be back in action this weekend for the first time since early November.

Five Bruins will be traveling to Las Vegas to participate in the Freeman Memorial Championships. They will be led by No. 16 sophomore Ena Shibahara, who came into the year as the top-ranked player in the preseason rankings and is 6-3 on the season.She was bested by Stanford’s then-sophomore Melissa Lord 6-3, 6-2 in the championship game of the Freeman Memorial Championships last year. Shibahara was selected to participate in the Master’U BNP Paribas, considered to be the world’s most prestigious international college team event, for Team USA in early December. She was vital in helping USA come in second behind Great Britain.

No. 46 freshman Abi Altick will be looking to build on reaching the finals of the Jack Kramer Club Invitational from her latest competitive play, which took place in early November. The former five-star recruit is 11-3 on the season.

This weekend will be the last chance for the team to compete before beginning its nonconference slate Jan. 19 against UCSB.

Women’s water polo
Claire Britton, Daily Bruin contributor

Adam Wright coached the men’s water polo team to an NCAA championship in the fall, and tomorrow will be his first game as the women’s water polo coach. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)
Adam Wright coached the men’s water polo team to an NCAA championship in the fall, and tomorrow will be his first game as the women’s water polo coach. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

UCLA women’s water polo is facing numerous personnel changes this season, and the team will get its first opportunity to test those changes this weekend.

UCLA debuts its season Saturday against Loyola Marymount at 9 a.m.

“But we’ll have to see over the evolution of the next three, four weeks – we’re really going to see where things start to play out,” said coach Adam Wright. “But it’s so early in the process that we don’t know, and that’s why this weekend is going to be nice for us to get a few games under our belt.”

As this will be not only the first game of the season, but also the first game under Wright, sophomore attacker Maddie Musselman said she is especially excited to see how the new lineups and system play out in a real game.

“A lot of us are really excited and know that we’ve progressed a lot and to take that and use it in our first game, and I think that’s going to be really cool to see,” Musselman said.

With lots of change in the upcoming season, Musselman said the team’s focus is sticking to the fundamentals and playing as a team.

In addition to their game against the Lions, the Bruins will also play a pair of exhibition games Saturday against the USC Trojans.

Swimming and diving
Coral Smith, Daily Bruin contributor

UCLA diving will host the Bruin Diving Invitation from Friday to Sunday. This will mark the first time this season that the Bruins will compete at home. (Stella Huang/Daily Bruin)
UCLA diving will host the Bruin Diving Invitation from Friday to Sunday. This will mark the first time this season that the Bruins will compete at home. (Stella Huang/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins are back in action after a six-week hiatus from competition.

UCLA swimming (4-3, 1-2 Pac-12) will travel to Oregon State (0-4, 0-2 Pac-12) for a dual meet Friday, while diving will host the Bruin Diving Invitational from Friday to Sunday at Spieker Aquatics Center.

Diving coach Tom Stebbins said that winter break afforded the team longer and more flexible practice schedules, letting it focus more on its preparations.

“You’re not distracted, and you’re forced to only do diving,” Stebbins said. “You can really have a really dedicated training plan, and we don’t have to be done quite as on time as we do now with school being back in session.”

Although there were a few days of rainy weather this week, Stebbins said that it had not stopped the team from practicing and had instead added another element of challenge to help the team be more prepared.

“Not only are they trying to do the things I’m asking them to do and make the changes that we’re trying to make, it’s about them managing their core temperature and trying to navigate the wind and navigate the lack of sun,” Stebbins said.

This will also be the first home meet for the diving team, and junior diver Traci Shiver said that this adds an aspect of comfort to competing.

“For me, I always really a little more confident when I’m at home because I know the surroundings,” Shiver said. “It just feels like practice.”

Men’s water polo
Ryan Smith, Assistant Sports editor

UCLA men’s water polo will host a championship celebration rally today from 12-1 p.m. in Bruin Plaza. Students will be able to meet and take photos with the players and the trophy. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)
UCLA men’s water polo will host a championship celebration rally today from 12-1 p.m. in Bruin Plaza. Students will be able to meet and take photos with the players and the trophy. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

UCLA men’s water polo won the 114th national title in school history Dec. 3 with a 7-5 victory over USC, and on Friday, the fans will have a chance to join the celebration.

From noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, the team will be in Bruin Plaza, and fans will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the players as well as the national championship trophy.

 

 

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Melissa Zhang is an assistant Sports editor. She was previously a reporter for the women's water polo, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's volleyball, and cross country beats.


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