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Bruins in Paris

Undefeated UCLA women’s water polo will travel north to face California

Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Steele holds the ball as she advances up the pool during a UCLA women’s water polo game. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's Water Polo

April 13, 1 p.m.

Cal Live Stream-4

By Ava Abrishamchian

April 12, 2024 3:12 p.m.

Together they stand, divided they fall.

With only a few games left in the season, the road to a championship is in sight.

And it’s one the Bruins are walking together.

“Something that is really special is that everyone is just really good,” said graduate student attacker Brooke Doten. “We can go six for six players when we sub … because our bench is so deep and anyone out there has full trust in what they’re doing.”

With a perfect record and two regular season games left, No. 1 UCLA women’s water polo (19-0, 4-0 Pac-12) is heading north to face off against No. 5 California (13-4, 2-1) on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bruins have yet to face the Golden Bears in regular season play, having only each other in an exhibition game in February.

Coach Adam Wright said the upcoming game provides an opportunity for the Bruins to face a new challenge late in the season.

“They have a really strong team, and they’re tough to beat at home, so this provides us another great opportunity because the reality is we have to be ready to play a little bit different style,” Wright said. “We can’t ever be satisfied.”

Last season, the Bruins faced off against the Bears three times in official games, losing twice. The last matchup between the two teams was in the third-place game of the MPSF tournament where the Bruins lost 12-11.

Despite the two teams’ history, the Bruins have been preparing by looking ahead, not behind.

“We have a new team, and they have a new team, so I think keeping the same mindset that we’ve had this season and going out there with big energy is going to be important for us,” said graduate student attacker Hannah Palmer.

Prior to its weekend off, UCLA picked up a 15-8 win over No. 3 Stanford. The Bruins were down 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, but a 4-0 third quarter and a six-goal game from senior attacker Malia Allen proved the difference.

Wright said the team is looking to start games stronger, avoiding performances like the opening period against the Cardinal.

“If we can start off that way, the whole competition of the game changes for us,” Wright said. “The back half of games is where we still got physicality, we got a lot mentally and we’re dialed in, so it would definitely be nice to kind of tighten that down for the beginning of the game”

After four consecutive home games, the Bruins will be traveling for the first time since the beginning of March with no more games at Spieker Aquatics Center.

Doten said UCLA’s preparation and conditioning will set it apart from its opponents for the remainder of the season. For now, the Bruins will have a chance to prove if that’s the case against the Golden Bears on Saturday.

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Ava Abrishamchian
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