No. 3 UCLA Opens 2021 Season at No. 11 Fresno State
LOS ANGELES – No. 3 UCLA (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) opens the 2021 season at No. 11 Fresno State (2-0) on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 12:00 p.m. PT at FSU's Aquatics Center. The Bruins will also take on No. 7 California in an exhibition game later that same day. Fresno State will provide a live stream and live stats for the game against the Bruins (links below).
This is just the fourth meeting between UCLA and Fresno State with the Bruins winning the previous three. The Bruins won the last meeting, 16-10, on Feb. 1, 2020. UCLA won every quarter and was led by Bella Baia, who scored a season-high and career-high-tying three goals. Jahmea Bent got the start in goal and played the first three quarters, tallying eight saves while allowing seven scores. Quinn Winter played the final quarter of the game and registered four saves while surrendering three scores.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Fresno State (2-0) is already out to a hot start in 2021, defeating Fresno Pacific, 19-5, on Feb. 6 in its season opener. FSU remained undefeated after posting a 12-11 overtime win at No. 16 UC Davis (Feb. 13).
All six of UCLA's 2020 ACWPC All-Americans return for the 2021 season. First-team selection sophomore Abbi Hill headlines the group. Two-time All-American and second-teamer junior Val Ayala returns as does four Bruins that earned honorable mention accolades for the first time in their careers. That group includes redshirt sophomore Georgia Phillips, senior Brooke Maxson, and juniors Katrina Drake and Ava Johnson.
RETURNING ALL-MPSF SELECTIONS
All five players that earned All-MPSF plaudits in 2020 as well as the three Bruins on the All-Newcomer team are also back for the 2021 campaign. Sophomore Abbi Hill and junior Val Ayala were both named first team All-MPSF last year while redshirt sophomore Georgia Phillips received second team honors. Junior Katrina Drake and senior Brooke Maxson were both named honorable mention. Three of the seven members on the MPSF All-Newcomer Team were Bruins, which included Hill and Phillips as well as attacker Hannah Palmer.
The Bruins are fortunate to have four goalkeepers on the 2021 roster, led by senior Jahmea Bent. The Bruins also return redshirt sophomore Georgia Phillips and sophomore Quinn Winter. UCLA welcomes in freshman Sydney Chiang (Temple City, Calif./Temple City HS).
For the second-consecutive season, the UCLA women's water polo active roster is completely made up of student-athletes that are from the state of California (27).
WRIGHT ON DECK
Adam Wright is in his fourth season as UCLA's head women's water polo coach in 2021 with an overall record of 66-17 (.795) and an MPSF mark of 8-5 (.615). On July 20, 2017, then-UCLA Director of Athletics, Dan Guerrero, announced that Wright would guide both the UCLA men's and women's water polo teams.
Overall Record: 19-2 | Final Ranking: 2nd (tied) | NCAA Finish: n/a | MPSF Tournament Finish: n/a
UCLA finished the season at 19-2 overall and 2-0 in the MPSF in the COVID-shortened season of 2020 in head coach Adam Wright's third season at the helm of the program. The Bruins went undefeated at the Michigan Invitational (4-0) and won the Triton Invitational with a 7-5 win over No. 1 USC in the championship game (Feb. 9). Freshman Abbi Hill headlined the list of Bruin selections with the lone First-Team accolades. Sophomore Val Ayala earned her second straight All-America recognition as she was named to the Second Team after earning Honorable Mention plaudits last year. Four Bruins earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades for the first time in their careers. That group included redshirt freshman Georgia Phillips, senior Brooke Maxson, and sophomores Katrina Drake and Ava Johnson. Hill and Ayala were both named first team All-MPSF while Phillips received second team honors. Drake and Maxson were both named honorable mention. Three of the seven members on the MPSF All-Newcomer Team were Bruins, which included Hill and Phillips as well as Bruin freshman attacker Hannah Palmer. Additionally, eight student-athletes were named to the MPSF All-Academic team and for the third-straight season, a total of 12 Bruins claimed ACWPC All-Academic honors.
UCLA IN THE CWPA POLL
The Bruins begin the season ranked third in the 2021 CWPA National Women's Varsity Top 25 Poll (93 points), released on Feb. 10.
|2021 WOMEN'S VARSITY TOP 25 (WEEK 1 - FEB. 10)|
|Rank||Team||2021 Preseason Poll||Points|
|6||Arizona State||5 (T)||78|
|9||UC Santa Barbara||9||65|
|10||UC San Diego||10||62|
|14 (T)||San Jose State||15||47|
|14 (T)||Long Beach State||14||47|
|17||San Diego State||17||35|
|23||California Baptist University||24||14|