UCLA women’s water polo swims past 1st loss with victory over UC Irvine
Graduate student utility Katrina Drake grimaces as she looks down the pool. Drake’s two goals Saturday moved her to 16 on the season. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)
Women's Water Polo
|No. 3 UCLA
|No. 6 UC Irvine
By Lexi Grimes
Feb. 12, 2023 12:51 p.m.
This post was updated Feb. 12 at 11:56 p.m.
The Bruins bounced back from their first loss of the season with a win.
No. 3 UCLA women’s water polo (10-1, 1-0 MPSF) recorded a 12-9 victory on the road against No. 6 UC Irvine (7-5) on Saturday afternoon. The result comes after the squad lost to No. 2 USC (8-0) on Feb. 5 in the championship game of the Triton Invitational.
Graduate student utility Katrina Drake, who led the team in scoring with two goals, said the loss last week helped the team improve and come back stronger.
“Last weekend was a really good learning opportunity for us,” said Drake. “We had a really good week of training and working together on things that we reflected on and noticed that we could improve on from last weekend.”
The Anteaters scored the first goal of the game and ended the first quarter up 2-1 on the Bruins. However, UCLA bounced back in the second quarter with five unanswered goals, giving the blue and gold a lead it would never relinquish. Although Irvine recorded five of the last six goals, it was not enough to overcome the advantage built by the Bruins after nine goals across the middle stanzas.
Senior attacker Hannah Palmer said it was great for the team to be able to collect a win against a team with a similar style as USC.
“It feels good to get back in the W column, especially after our loss last week,” Palmer said. “Today, we definitely were moving a bit more. USC and UCI are similar in the way that they are both very physical, and they just try to hold you the entire time, so we moved more in our game today.”
After losing some of last season’s key players and playing only three weeks of games together, the Bruins are still trying to figure out how to work best as a team. Nevertheless, coach Adam Wright said he is happy with the growth that the blue and gold has shown so far.
“We’re a new group, but the thing I like is how they are interacting and communicating with each other and really are committed to growing as a group,” said Wright. “We’ve grown a lot since Santa Barbara, and it’s a really exciting period of time for us, and now we have a couple weeks before our big midseason tournament.”
UCLA is back in action on Feb. 24 at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational.