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UCLA women’s water polo set to host California in top-5 rematch

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Georgia Phillips splashes out of the water on a save attempt. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's Water Polo

No. 5 California
Saturday, 1 p.m.

Spieker Aquatics Center
No TV info

By Lexi Grimes

April 14, 2023 1:07 p.m.

The Bruins are back at home competing against a familiar opponent.

No. 3 UCLA women’s water polo (18-4, 3-1 MPSF) will face off against No. 5 California (17-6, 3-1) for the second time this season when the two meet at Spieker Aquatics Center on Saturday. The two teams previously competed during the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at the end of February, when the Golden Bears emerged with a 9-7 victory.

However, coach Adam Wright said the last matchup was simply a bad game for his team, adding that UCLA is ready for Cal this time around.

“That was all the way back at Kalbus, and they really forced us into decisions that really were against some simple elements about how we play,” Wright said. “Obviously we know Cal is a great team, and they’re always a great team, but that was the farthest we’ve been off the mark as far as how we’re trying to play.”

Over the past 10 years, the Bruins have posted a 19-5 record against the Golden Bears. However, last season, the two teams split their games, with UCLA winning on the road but losing to Cal at home.

The Bruins have only had three home games so far this season but have walked away from all three matchups victorious. The two most recent home victories have both occurred in the month of April – with a victory over No. 4 Hawai’i followed by a win over No. 9 Fresno State.

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Georgia Phillips said UCLA is excited to have more home games and that it gives them an extra sense of motivation.

“We love home games,” Philips said. “We haven’t had that many this season so far, but we really enjoy having everyone there. It gives us an extra feeling of emphasis that we don’t want to let anyone beat us in our own pool.”

The Bruins are heading into the contest against the Golden Bears on a six-game winning streak, their longest streak since starting the season with nine straight wins. Graduate student attacker Val Ayala said UCLA is in a good rhythm and is looking forward to extending its streak Saturday.

“We’re getting into our stride as a team, and we’ve really grown a lot over the past few games we’ve had,” Ayala said. “I’m pretty excited for the game this weekend and seeing if what we’ve been working on over the past few weeks can show up on Saturday. I think we’re going in a pretty good direction right now.”

UCLA and Cal will face off at Spieker Aquatics Center on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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Lexi Grimes | Sports reporter
Grimes is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. She was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball, men's soccer and women's volleyball beats.
Grimes is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. She was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball, men's soccer and women's volleyball beats.
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