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With undefeated regular season on the line, UCLA women’s water polo faces USC

Sophomore utility Genoa Rossi holds the ball in the air. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's Water Polo

April 20, 2 p.m.

Uytengsu Aquatics Center
Pac-12 Los Angeles

By Mika McCaffrey

April 19, 2024 8:00 p.m.

The Bruins will have to win a rivalry game to finish the regular season undefeated.

No. 1 UCLA women’s water polo (20-0, 5-0 MPSF) is heading across town to face off against No. 4 USC (17-5, 4-1) for its final game before the MPSF tournament. With a win, the Bruins would secure their first undefeated regular season since 2008.

Coach Adam Wright said UCLA’s success can be attributed to the team and it’s mindset.

“It’s a credit to the group buying in and believing in each other and understanding that no matter your given role, you’re important,” Wright said. “Most important kids aren’t the ones that play necessarily, and they’ve done a really great job of coming together and embracing those things.”

UCLA is coming off a narrow 7-6 victory over conference opponent No. 5 California where senior attacker Malia Allen picked up a hat trick, giving her 25 goals on the season.

The game marked the sixth time this season that the Bruins have allowed six goals or fewer against a ranked opponent.

“Our defense last game was pretty good,” Wright said. “We want to keep improving there because you’re going to have off games offensively. But if you can keep rolling defensively, you always have a chance to be successful.”

With the exception of the contest against Cal, UCLA has scored at least nine goals per game this year, including a season high of 23 goals in a game against Biola.

Sophomore utility Genoa Rossi said against the Trojans, the Bruins want to stick to what they’ve been doing.

“Something that we always talk about with our team is we’re playing ourselves,” Rossi said. “So, we’re just going to go out there and we treat every game the same.”

UCLA and USC have yet to face off this season despite both appearing at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational and Triton Invitational. Last year, the Trojans defeated the Bruins all three times they clashed, with the last Bruin win coming in February 2022.

Sophomore attacker Taylor Smith said facing USC adds an additional level of energy to the match.

“It’s always super exciting and super fun getting to play USC, our biggest rivals,” Smith said. “It just brings a lot of excitement and energy going into the game and especially on game day, and it’s just a super fun environment.”

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