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Weekend in preview: Nov. 2

Senior goalkeeper Garret Griggs throws the ball from his net at the Spieker Aquatics Center. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Rahaf Abumansour, Lamar Tuker, and Sabrina Baker

Nov. 2, 2023 3:43 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article misspelled Iman Ndiaye’s name in a sentence.

This post was updated Nov. 2 at 10:02 p.m.

Men’s water polo

Lamar Tuker, Daily Bruin contributor

The Bruins are making use of precious time as they prepare to face the Anteaters.

“We only have a short amount of time left,” said coach Adam Wright. “We really want to put in quality trainings.”

No. 1 UCLA men’s water polo (21-0, 5-0 MPSF) will compete against No. 6 UC Irvine (14-7, 3-1 Big West) for the second time this season at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday. The Bruins’ initial match against the Anteaters was during the Triton Invitational in September, marking UCLA’s third win of the season.

The upcoming match is the first time UCLA has competed against UC Irvine twice in one season since 2015, and Wright said they’re preparing for a high-level performance.

“We’ll probably see Irvine’s best game of the year,” Wright said.

Senior goalkeeper Garret Griggs said the team has to focus on the present.

“We just got to bring our A game and focus on ourselves,” Griggs said.

Griggs contributed to the team’s last win against No. 2 California. Griggs tallied 13 saves and senior attacker Rafael Real Vergara scored three goals.

Real Vergara added to Griggs’ sentiment.

“We have to switch the focus – stay present,” Real Vergara said.

UCLA is potentially weeks away from replicating its first undefeated regular season since 2015.

(Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)
Redshirt senior middle blocker Anna Dodson elevates for a kill. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

Women’s volleyball
Rahaf Abumansour, Daily Bruin reporter

It was just last month that the Bruins managed to win one set in their trip to Arizona.

But this weekend, home-court advantage could favor the squad as UCLA women’s volleyball (13-9, 5-7 Pac-12) faces both No. 15 Arizona State (21-3, 9-3) and Arizona (6-17, 1-11) on Friday and Sunday, respectively – this time at Pauley Pavilion.

With the opportunity to rematch on home turf, senior opposite/outside hitter Iman Ndiaye said the Bruins are looking for revenge.

“We’re all looking forward to getting our redemption against both Arizona teams,” Ndiaye said. “Just knowing that we can play better together this next go-round.”

The Bruins are riding on a successful road trip where they initiated a flip in their Pac-12 script with consecutive victories against Utah and Colorado.

Despite an error-free .700 clip against the Buffaloes, redshirt senior middle blocker Anna Dodson said there is still work to be done in the gym.

“We have been tightening up certain parts of our game, such as our pins and attacking,” Dodson said. “I know next week in the gym, that’s what our coaches are gonna bring.”

Both the Sun Devils and the Wildcats limited the Bruins’ defensive strategies last time around, causing them to commit 19 errors against the former and 25 – their highest number of the season – against the latter.

But with 25 errors in its Arizona excursion, UCLA has shown tremendous improvement on the offensive end, simultaneously mustering a .353 hitting percentage in its victories against Washington, Utah and Colorado.

With Pac-12 play inching toward the postseason, coach Alfee Reft understands the importance of games like this.

“We know every match at this point is pivotal for us to have a run at the NCAA tournament,” Reft said.

(Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin staff)
Members of UCLA swim and dive begin a race by jumping off the blocks and into the water. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin staff)

Swim and dive
Sabrina Baker, Daily Bruin reporter

The Bruins are headed to the desert.

No. 23 UCLA swim and dive (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) will travel to Arizona to compete against both No. 21 Arizona State (1-3) and Arizona (1-0, 1-0) in two separate dual meets. The first dual meet will be at ASU on Friday and the second at Arizona the next day. There will be fewer than 24 hours between the two meets, with Friday starting at 2 p.m. and Saturday starting at noon.

Coach Jordan Wolfrum said it will be important to monitor energy levels between the two meets.

“Every year when we do that back-to-back, we talk about that a lot,” Wolfrum said. “Our team did a really nice job with that last year, so I am excited to see us still be able to execute there, especially with two meets that are going to be really competitive.”

The Bruins hold a 28-11-1 all-time record against the Sun Devils and a 22-19 record against the Wildcats. Last year, UCLA beat both teams in both conference dual meets and at the Pac-12 championship.

So far, ASU has been racing in tech suits during dual meets this season. Tech suits are knee-length, skin-tight suits that reduce water resistance, thus making swimmers faster.

“There is definitely a speed advantage,” Wolfrum said in regard to the tech suits. “So trying to guess where they’re at compared to us will look a little different.”

The Bruins will start their double dual-meet weekend at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center on Friday.

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Rahaf Abumansour
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.
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