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Weekend in preview: Oct. 12

UCLA men’s soccer coach Ryan Jorden and assistant coach Juan Cervantes head to the locker room at halftime to speak to the team. (Emily Tang/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Sam Schuette, Anthony Aroyan, Sabrina Baker, and Ira Gorawara

Oct. 12, 2023 2:20 p.m.

This post was updated Oct 12 at 10:01 p.m.

Men’s soccer
Anthony Aroyan, Daily Bruin staff

The Bruins are returning home following an undefeated run in the Pacific Northwest.

UCLA men’s soccer (5-2-3, 2-0-2 Pac-12) will host Loyola Marymount (5-1-5, 1-0-1 West Coast Conference) for the team’s final nonconference matchup of the season. This contest comes after what coach Ryan Jorden called one of the toughest road trips in the nation.

“We showed a tremendous amount of character,” Jorden said. “If you look at every possible two-game road trip in America, this trip to the Northwest may be the hardest.”

Now facing a Lions roster with three clean sheets through its last five matches, the Bruins will look to maintain the team’s 2.4 goals per game ratio, the ninth highest in the country.

Graduate student transfer Jack Sarkos has headlined the Bruins in goal-scoring this year. The forward leads the team with eight goals. His strike against Oregon State on Thursday helped earn him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, making him the second consecutive Bruin to win the award this season after graduate student midfielder Ryan Becher.

“If an individual player receives recognition in our sport, it means that your team had a good output and performance,” Jorden said. “Just sort of the cherry on top of having a couple of good performances.”

Jorden said his team’s sole focus is to get a win against experienced competition.

Men’s golf
Ira Gorawara, assistant Sports editor

The Bruins have been plotting a new course.

After occupying a podium position just twice in the last three seasons, UCLA men’s golf will navigate back to the East to try and secure a second consecutive top-three finish at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational this weekend. A promising freshman-junior duo has spearheaded a transformative 2023 season for its squad.

Junior Omar Morales – last year’s leading scorer for the Bruin pack – commenced the season after competing in his first major championship event at the 123rd U.S. Open. Morales hit his stride in East Hampton as he tied for fifth with a 5-under 211 and simultaneously belted his third career top-10 finish.

Coach Armen Kirakossian said Morales’ hunger during the tournament was the anchor of his success.

“When you’re hungry and really want it badly, that’s when you see what you got,” Kirakossian said. “And Omar showed us that he’s a guy that we need to have in our lineup.”

Morales will command the Bruins’ number two slot this weekend, rocketing straight up the ranks without playing in a qualifying round. Accompanying him will be UCLA’s Luke Powell – the standout freshman who has yet to take a stride off the collegiate podium.

Powell’s debut delivered a third place 10-under, spurred on by 11 birdies and two eagles. The Laguna Niguel native then managed to clinch a victory in the Hamptons Intercollegiate, tying ex-No. 1 World Amateur Golfer and eight-time PGA champion Patrick Cantlay for the lowest 18-hole score by a Bruin freshman.

The first-year powerhouse said his ability to understand the value of par has been pivotal in finding early success in college.

“When you go to college, you’re playing harder courses, harder pins, tougher conditions,” Powell said. “Although I’ve been under par a lot of my first rounds, when you’re not focused on it, you play your best golf, so I tried to think about playing golf and the process of it and each swing, each shot at a time.”

The Bruins will meet a couple big-time golfers in the The Golf Club of Georgia tee box this Friday. Kirakossian said he is confident in his youngster’s ability to maintain his lasting impression through the tournament.

“I mean, you just don’t have starts like that,” Kirakossian said. “It’s very rare, and, frankly, many players are not there.”

Swim and dive
Sabrina Baker, Daily Bruin reporter

(Felicia Kelly/Daily Bruin senior staff)
UCLA swim and dive performs the 8-clap for the fans on the opposite side of the pool. (Felicia Kelly/Daily Bruin senior staff)

The Bruins will have the opportunity to defend last weekend’s victory.

UCLA swim and dive will travel to Pullman, Washington, to take on Washington State at Gibb Pool on Friday, marking both teams’ first dual meet of the season. Last weekend, the Bruins defeated the Cougars by over 400 points in the Fresno State Invitational.

Graduate student Brooke Schaffer said the result from the previous weekend has fostered an energy of confidence among the team.

“I’m excited to see how everyone does,” Schaffer said. “I’m glad the younger classmen have that confidence going into this first meet, because that’s definitely super important.”

UCLA holds an all-time winning record of 13-1 against WSU, with the one loss coming from the 2016 season. The last time the two teams faced off in a dual meet was 2021, when UCLA won by 78 points.

Schaffer said her goal for the team is to improve from its performance last weekend.

“It would be great if we could win every single event, or even just the relays,” Schaffer said. “I think they got us in the 400 and 800 (relays) at Fresno. I don’t know what relays we are going to do at Washington, but if we could come back hungry and get some redemption, that would be great.”

Cross country
Sam Schuette, Daily Bruin reporter

(Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)
Former UCLA cross country runner Peter Herold makes his way through the course. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

Texas holds the next challenge for UCLA cross country.

Three weeks removed from a trip to Eugene, Oregon, for the Bill Dellinger Invitational, the Bruins will travel east to College Station, Texas, for the Arturo Barrios Invitational this Friday.

The men’s 8k race starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by the women’s 6k at 9:15. In total, 43 schools will compete in the event, with UCLA as the lone representative of the Pac-12 conference.

The race once again marks a major shift in competition for the Bruins, who opened their season against a handful of local Southern California schools, followed by a bigger meet against several highly rated West Coast colleges.

This time around, 18 of the 43 schools reside in the Lone Star State, from major powerhouses such as the University of Texas – 11th-ranked among men’s teams nationally – to smaller schools such as Houston Christian and Incarnate Word.

Sophomore Jai Dawson said the change of scenery offers a chance for the Bruins to prove themselves.

“​​We want to do well in the Pac-12, but we also want to do well against other schools across the country,” Dawson said. “For our team, it’s like proving that we are a team that can compete with anyone from anywhere.”

With most of the Bruins’ early-season opponents hailing from the West Coast, the Barrios Invitational marks the first opportunity for the team to test itself against powerhouses from the rest of the country.

The Barrios Invitational also marks the Bruins’ final race before their trip to the Pac-12 championships Oct. 27.

Dawson said Friday’s race can prepare the team before its looming challenge.

“It’s one of those races where it can set us up mentally,” Dawson said. “If we do well now, it sets us up super nicely for Pac-12.”

With the Pac-12 championships just two weeks away, UCLA’s performance at the Barrios Invitational will mark its last chance to tune up before the postseason.

 

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Sam Schuette
Sabrina Baker | Sports contributor
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Ira Gorawara | Assistant Sports editor
Gorawara is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, men's tennis and rowing beats and is a Copy contributor. She was previously a reporter on the men's volleyball and rowing beats. She is also a second-year communication and economics student.
Gorawara is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, men's tennis and rowing beats and is a Copy contributor. She was previously a reporter on the men's volleyball and rowing beats. She is also a second-year communication and economics student.
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