According to the preseason standings, Stanford is the top-ranked women’s water polo team, followed by UCLA and USC sharing the second place. Cal Bears took the fourth position, while Arizona State is the fifth.
Last weekend saw UCLA and USC play their first games of the season at the UCLA Mini Invitational which took place on January 13 at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center’s Park Pool. Next weekend will mark the start of the season for Stanford at the LouStrong Memorial hosted by San Jose State and for Cal at the Rainbow Invite in Honolulu.
UCLA pursuing title with new head coach
Last year’s MPSF Champion and NCAA runner-up has a new coach this season. In July 2017, UCLA Athletics Department announced that Adam Wright, Head Coach of UCLA Men’s Water Polo Team since 2009, will be in charge of the Women’s Team as well.
UCLA ladies started the season with a triumph over Loyola Marymount. Even though the Bruins were struggling in the first quarter, they eventually recorded a convincing 11:2 win. Hana Vilanova netted the opener putting LMU into the lead at the beginning, Bruins stroke back two minutes later when Maddie Musselman equalized. They finally managed to take over the lead after Grace Reego’s goal. The second quarter saw no goals for almost four minutes, and then UCLA went ahead 3:1 at last thanks to Bronte Halligan. Hosting water polo team left the opponents scoreless and continued to increase the lead until the halftime when the score was 5:1. After an almost equal third period, UCLA had a six-goal lead (7:2) and removed all doubts regarding the winner. However, they put on a powerful performance in the final quarter when they scored four unanswered goals. Abbey Grosse also scored for LMU, which was her first goal for the Lions. Bruins Devin Grab, Roxy Wheaton, Halligan, and Musselman each netted a pair.
This was followed by two exhibition matches against USC, and UCLA water polo players now have to focus on preparing for the upcoming five matches at UCSB Invitational scheduled for next weekend.
UCLA 11:2 LMU
(2:1, 3:0, 2:1, 4:0)
Powerful opening by USC
USC water polo squad took part in the UCLA Invitational where they also faced LMU. Trojans stormed past the Lions, 18:0, led by Maud Megens who scored five goals and Hayley McKelvey added four, all of which in the first quarter. Two freshmen also shined during this game scoring their first goals for USC – Verica Bakoc scored one, while Paige Hauschild recorded a hat trick.
Trojans will in two weeks participate in CBU Mini Invitational.
USC 18:0 LMU
(7:0, 5:0, 4:0, 2:0)