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Weekend in Preview: Feb. 16

Members of UCLA women’s water polo watch the game from the bench. (Vivian Le/Daily Bruin)

By Ava Abrishamchian and Rahaf Abumansour

Feb. 16, 2024 11:13 a.m.

Women’s water polo
Ava Abrishamchian, Daily Bruin reporter

The Bruins will begin MPSF play Saturday afternoon.

No. 1 UCLA women’s water polo (9-0) will face off against No. 7 Arizona State (11-1) for the second time in three weeks.

The contest against Arizona State will be the first rematch of the season for the Bruins. Last time around, the Bruins handed the Sun Devils their one and only loss of the season. The Bruins have played the Sun Devils over 30 times with only two losses.

Last weekend, UCLA buried 16 goals to UC Irvine’s five. Eleven different Bruins scored in the contest, with sophomore attacker Taylor Smith picking up her first hat trick of the season.

With an undefeated record, the Bruins will play in their first conference game of the season. In their last match up, the Sun Devils were limited to eight goals to the Bruins’ 13.

The Bruins have five goalies on their roster, including freshman goalkeeper Lauren Steele, who started the game against the Anteaters and recorded nine saves. As the season progresses, the Bruins are looking to their defense to keep them going, said coach Adam Wright.

“There’s going to be times where it’s going to be low scoring games, and I think our defense and our goalkeeper play will keep us in those games,” Wright said. “We can become more dangerous, but we are fortunate in that sense from the goalie perspective.”

After a 10-goal second-half ramp up against the Anteaters, the Bruins are focusing their energy on the start, Smith said.

“Definitely going to try to focus on starting with a lot of energy from the beginning instead of at the half, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes,” Smith said. “It’s up to us to change who we want to be.”

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Senior pole vaulter Katerina Adamiec clears the pole. (Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Track and field
Rahaf Abumansour, Daily Bruin reporter

Consistency isn’t just a tactic in the Bruins’ playbook – it’s the foundation of their strategy.

“We have been training very consistently,” said sophomore pole vaulter Hunter O’Brien.

UCLA track and field is splitting into two teams to participate in the USATF Indoor Championship and the Alex Wilson Invitational this weekend. The Bruins are coming off of a four-tournament weekend where many athletes acquired multiple top-10 finishes.

The squad has been breaking records and securing podium finishes since the beginning of the indoor season in January. Just last weekend, they put up four new UCLA indoor top-10 marks.

O’Brien said the Bruins’ success comes from practice and preparation.

“At the end of the day, it’s about jumping well, and it’s always the same jumps you’ve been doing,” O’Brien said.

The pole vaulters have racked up six podium finishes since the season opener in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Senior Katerina Adamiec placed in third, clearing 3.97 meters. Senior Ka’Leila Abrille took first place with a 4.12-meter clearance.

After this weekend, the Bruins will be one meet away from the NCAA indoor championships.

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