No. 3 UCLA Opens MPSF Play at Michigan Invitational
LOS ANGELES – No. 3 UCLA (5-0, 0-0 MPSF) heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Michigan Invitational this weekend (Jan. 29-30). The Bruins will open the tournament and MPSF play when they face No. 10 Indiana on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 9:00 a.m. PT. The Bruins will close out the day with Salem at 4:30 p.m. PT. Day two will see the Bruins face LIU at 9:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, Jan. 30. UCLA will conclude the weekend at No. 6 Michigan. The Wolverines will provide live stats for every match and will provide a live stream for all games they are involved in. You can find rosters, schedules, live stats, and box scores at the Tournament Central link by clicking here.
This is the 17th meeting between UCLA and Indiana with the Bruins winning all 16 previous contests. The Bruins are also 28-0 all-time against Michigan. This will be the inaugural meeting for the Bruins against Salem and LIU.
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 was also 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 has 197 career goals which ranks fifth all-time on the UCLA career charts. She needs just 5 goals to move into fourth place (4. Katie Rulon, 201). She also needs 24 to move into third place (3. Rachel Fattal 220). She needs 41 goals during the rest of the season to become the all-time leader in UCLA history (1. Kelly Rulon, 237). She also ranks 6th in career steals with 128, needing just two to pass Jillian Kraus for fifth place. The all-time leader at UCLA is Rachel Fattal with 188.
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). Maddie Musselman is also a three-time All-American (2017-19).
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 Palmer. Johnson 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.
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) a year ago.
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 86-22 (.796) 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.
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 remained at No. 3 in the 2022 CWPA National Women's Varsity Top 25 Poll (93 points), released on Jan. 26.
|2022 WOMEN'S VARSITY TOP 25 (Week 1 - Jan. 26)|
|Rank||Team||2022 Preseason Poll||Points|
|11||UC San Diego||9||55|
|12||San José State||16||54|
|13 (T)||Long Beach State||12||50|
|13 (T)||UC Davis||14||50|
|16||UC Santa Barbara||18||38|
|17 (T)||Loyola Marymount||17||38|
|19||San Diego State||15||34|
|24 (T)||California Baptist University||21||6|
|RV||Cal State East Bay||RV||1|