During their longest break of the regular season, the Bruins are gearing up for the rest of their schedule with a dose of recovery and conditioning.
No. 3 UCLA men’s water polo (19-1, 0-0 MPSF) has had almost two weeks between its last game and its upcoming game. Saturday will be the Bruins’ first of three straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation games over the next three weekends.
Sophomore utility Evan Rosenfeld said the Bruins have not been out of shape, but the time off helped the team recover and amp up its training in order to help the players get into better condition.
“We can push how hard the practices were last week,” Rosenfeld said. “We got a little more cardio training, and that was good for some of us. We were starting to feel tired, so it was nice getting to train a little more.”
Freshman attacker Michael Graner said he did not consider the previous week a break, instead noting how the Bruins are ramping up their conditioning to help them get through the final half of the season.
“It’s not really a rest,” Graner said. “That first week, you want to come back and recondition because it’s the halfway point through the season. Since we didn’t have a game last weekend, (we had) good conditioning, a lot more practice and really prepared for (California).”
The Bruins play No. 1 USC (24-1, 0-1), No. 2 Stanford (15-1, 1-0), and No. 4 California (15-3, 0-0) before the MPSF tournament. These three games will help the Bruins measure themselves up against the rest of the top four schools.
Coach Adam Wright said focusing on just the Golden Bears is a good break after prepping for as many as 15 different teams prior to the MPSF Invitational.
“After that tournament weekend, it’s a lot of preparation going into it,” Wright said. “It was nice to get the guys a little bit of rest and be able to really concentrate on ourselves for a week because we were preparing for so many different teams heading up into that tournament.”
Wright also mentioned that the Bruins needed work on 6-on-5 scenarios. UCLA has gone a combined 6-of-22 on power plays over its last two games.
Wright said the team is hoping the extra time preparing for the rest of the season will help his team over the homestretch, starting with this weekend’s game against the Bears.
“The reality is also to get a head start on Cal,” Wright said. “They’re one of the most storied programs, and they’re an incredible team. Hopefully, our work will pay off.”