Sunday, May 24

Women’s water polo extends undefeated streak with four-team sweep

In the Bruins’ first three weeks of their season, they haven’t lost a game.

No. 4 UCLA women’s water polo (9-0) has extended its win streak to nine games, posting an undefeated record after sweeping four teams in this weekend’s invitational that included No. 8 Michigan (5-4), No. 9 Pacific (3-1), No. 24 Marist (0-6) and No. 20 Wagner (1-3). The Bruins scrimmaged the Chinese national team this weekend as well.

“From the weekend in Santa Barbara to this weekend, we definitely got better,” said coach Adam Wright. “We had the opportunity to play in five games and a couple of the games were good situations for our team, which is young and inexperienced.”

Over the course of the weekend, the Bruins distributed their scoring over 12 different players – four of whom had multiple goals.

Wright explained that with the youth in their roster, this weekend served as another litmus test to get new rotations in the pool in order to make up for the experience that they are lacking.

Sophomore attacker Emily Skelly scored a career high of six goals against Marist to cap a 18-8 win.

“I think that we really try to stress our live entries into our centers and whenever we get those live entries, something always good comes out of it,” Skelly said. “We have been trying to time our releases to get the ball in quickly.”

The Bruins outscored their opponents 51-24 over the course of the weekend, and held each opponent to single-digit scoring.

Junior goalkeeper Carlee Kapana echoed Skelly in saying that the offense this weekend was a result from their ability to get the ball into their center position.

“We were getting a lot of live balls in the center. We were getting a lot of kick-out and getting rewarded for it,” Kapana said. “We converted a lot of our 6-on-5 opportunities throughout the weekend which was great for us offensively.”

Last week, UCLA faced Michigan and won by one goal. This weekend, the Bruins defeated the Wolverines by four goals.

“Our centers did a nice job – with our centers establishing good position it frees up people. Our 6-on-5 for the most part was pretty good as well,” Wright said. “One area we have to clean up is our counterattack and our offense will be much better if we can do that.”

On the defensive end, Kapana tallied eight saves against Michigan.

“She was very instrumental in all of our games this week,” Wright said. “We are still making a lot of mistakes out in front, but when you have a goalie that can correct those mistakes by making tough saves, that‘s very helpful, and that’s what (Kapana) did for us.”

The Bruins will have another week of training until their next invitational at UC San Diego.

“The reality is it a long process and we have a long way to go,” Wright said.

Shapiro joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2015 and contributed until 2018. She spent time on the women's water polo, men's water polo and baseball beats.

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