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No. 3 UCLA Opens 2022 Campaign in Santa Barbara

Jan 20, 2022
No. 3 UCLA opens the 2022 season with No. 23 Wagner College on Friday, Jan. 21 at UCSB's Campus Pool at 4:15 p.m. PT.

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LOS ANGELES – No. 3 UCLA (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) opens the 2022 season this weekend at the Winter Invitational at UC Santa Barbara. The Bruins open with No. 23 Wagner College on Friday, Jan. 21 at UCSB's Campus Pool at 4:15 p.m. PT. Day two will see the Bruins face No. 21 California Baptist University on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m. PT and OUAZ (Ottawa University Arizona) at 5:00 p.m. PT. The Bruins will conclude the tournament on Sunday, Jan. 23, with No. 9 UC San Diego at 2:45 p.m. PT and the hosts, No. 18 UC Santa Barbara at 5:45 p.m. PT. No stream will be provided and UCSB will only provide live stats for games it is involved in. You can find rosters, schedules, live stats, and box scores at the Tournament Central link by clicking here.

SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
Friday, Jan. 21 (UCSB Campus Pool)
4:15 PM PT – No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 23 Wagner College

Saturday, Jan. 22 (UCSB Recreation Center)
1:30 PM PT – No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 21 California Baptist University
5:00 PM PT – No. 3 UCLA vs. OUAZ

Sunday, Jan. 23 (UCSB Campus Pool)
2:45 PM PT – No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 9 UC San Diego
5:45 PM PT – No. 3 UCLA at No. 18 UC Santa Barbara LIVE STATS

SERIES HISTORY
This is the fifth meeting between UCLA and Wagner College with the Bruins winning all four previous contests. The Bruins are also 10-0 all-time against California Baptist University and 1-0 vs. OUAZ (Ottawa University Arizona). UCLA is also 31-3 against UC San Diego and 42-2 vs. UC Santa Barbara.

MUSSELMAN RETURNS
After a two-year hiatus to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with Team USA, senior attacker Maddie Musselman returns to complete her senior season at UCLA. Musselman tied for the team scoring lead with 18 goals in the Olympics, leading Team USA to its third-straight gold medal and was named the MVP of the Olympic Games. It is the fourth time in her career that she has been named the MVP of a major international tournament as she was named the MVP of the FINA World League Super Final in 2019 and again in 2021. She also was named the MVP of the FINA World Championships in 2017. Additionally, the three-time First-Team All-American was also named the 2021 Women's Total Player of the Year by (Total Waterpolo). Musselman enters her final season with 183 career goals which ranks seventh all-time on the UCLA career charts. She needs just 5 goals to move into fifth place (5. Tanya Gandy, 187; 6. Catharine von Schwarz, 186). She needs 55 goals this season to become the all-time leader in UCLA history (1. Kelly Rulon, 237). She also ranks 10th in career steals with 118, needing just three to pass Kodi Hill for ninth place. The all-time leader at UCLA is Rachel Fattal with 188.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS
Four of UCLA's seven 2021 ACWPC All-Americans return for the 2022 season. Senior center Ava Johnson headlined the list of Bruin selections as the lone First-Team honoree. Junior attacker Hannah Palmer was the only Bruin to earn Second-Team honors. The Bruins landed two on the Third-Team list which included senior attacker Val Ayala and goalkeeper Jahmea Bent (graduated). Three more Bruins earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades that included defender Brooke Maxson (graduated), junior utility Abbi Hill and attacker Lexi Liebowitz (graduated).

Johnson was fifth on the team in scoring with 34 points (28 goals, six assists). Her 28 goals ranked tied for second on the team. She led the squad in drawn exclusions (32) and field blocks (nine) and tied for fourth on the team in steals (nine). Palmer led the team in scoring with 62 points (9th in the MPSF) with a team-high 36 goals and 26 assists (tied for fifth in the MPSF). She was second on the team defensively with 14 steals. Ayala was fourth on the team in scoring with 36 points (20 goals, 16 assists). Her 20 goals ranked fifth on the squad while the 16 assists ranked third. She led the Bruins defensively with a team-high 17 steals while ranking second with eight field blocks. Hill finished second on the team in scoring with 47 points (28 goals, 19 assists). The 28 goals and 19 assists each ranked second on the team. She also had nine steals (tied for fourth on the squad), six drawn exclusions, and three field blocks.

RETURNING ALL-MPSF SELECTIONS
Four of the Bruins' five players that earned All-MPSF plaudits in 2021 return for the 2022 campaign. The group includes First-Team selections senior center Ava Johnson and junior attacker Hannah PalmerJohnson was also named to the 2021 MPSF/KAP7 All-Tournament Team. Senior Brooke Maxson was named honorable mention for the second straight year and graduated out of the program at year's end. Two Bruin sophomores landed on the MPSF All-Newcomer Team last year, which included attackers Malia Allen and Anneliese Miller.
 
TENDING GOAL
The Bruins have three goalkeepers on the 2022 roster that all saw action last season, led by redshirt junior Georgia Phillips who played in 10 games (starting eight) while going 5-3 on the year. Junior Quinn Winter and sophomore Sydney Chiang each only played a quarter in the Bruins' season-opening win at No. 11 Fresno State (Feb. 14).
 
CALIFORNIA RAISED
For the third-consecutive season, the UCLA women's water polo roster is completely made up of student-athletes that are from the state of California (28).

WRIGHT ON DECK
Adam Wright is in his fifth season as UCLA's head women's water polo coach in 2022 with an overall record of 81-22 (.786) and an MPSF mark of 17-8 (.680). 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.
 
RECAPPING 2021
Overall Record: 15-5 | Final Ranking: 2nd | NCAA Finish: 2nd | MPSF Tournament Finish: 3rd

UCLA finished the season at 15-5 overall and 9-3 in the MPSF in the COVID-limited season of 2021 in head coach Adam Wright's fourth season at the helm of the program. The Bruins went defeated every team it played at least once, including handing NCAA Champion USC its only loss of the season at home, 13-6, on the UCLA's "Senior Day" (April 25). The Bruins also split a pair of games at No. 2 Stanford, dropping the first one 11-12 (Mar. 27) before rallying to win the second meeting, 11-10 (Mar. 28). Stanford beat UCLA in the semifinals of the MPSF Championiship, 13-8 (May 1), but the Bruins beat the Cardinal in the semifinals of the NCAA Champioinship, 9-7 (May 15) before falling to the Trojans in the title match. UCLA would capture third place at the MPSF Championship with a 12-7 win at No. 5 Arizona State (May 2).

UCLA IN THE CWPA POLL
The Bruins enter at No. 3 in the preseason 2022 CWPA National Women's Varsity Top 25 Poll (94 points), released on Jan. 12.
 

 2022 WOMEN'S VARSITY TOP 25 (Preseason - Jan. 12)
 Rank  Team  Final 2021 Poll  Points
 1  USC  1  97
 2  Stanford  3  96
 3  UCLA  2  94
 4  Arizona State  4  84
 5  California  6  83
 6  Hawai'i  5  82
 7  UC Irvine  7 (T)  80
 8  Michigan  7 (T)  72
 9  UC San Diego  9  64
 10  Fresno State  10  62
 11  Indiana  15  51
 12  Long Beach State  13  50
 13  Pacific  14  47
 14  UC Davis  11  46
 15  San Diego State  12  42
 16  San José State  16  39
 17  Loyola Marymount  18  38
 18  UC Santa Barbara  NR  36
 19  Princeton  NR  26
 20  Harvard  NR  24
 21  California Baptist University  17  22
 22  Marist  20 (T)  15
 23  Wagner College  NR  13
 24  Bucknell  19  12
 25  CSUN  NR  7
 RV  Azusa Pacific  20 (T)  6
 RV  Santa Clara  22  4
 RV  Long Island University  RV  2
 RV  Brown  NR  2
 RV  Salem  23  1
 RV  La Salle  24  1
 RV  Saint Francis  25  1
 RV  Cal State East Bay  NR  1