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No. 2 UCLA Hosts No. 1 Stanford on Saturday

Mar 23, 2022
Senior Val Ayala and the UCLA Bruins will be in their second No. 1 vs. No. 2 game this season when UCLA hosts top-ranked Stanford on Saturday.

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LOS ANGELES – No. 2 UCLA (21-1, 3-0 MPSF) returns to MPSF action this week and makes its season debut on the Pac-12 Network when it hosts No. 1 Stanford (13-1, 1-0 MPSF) on Saturday, Mar. 26 at 1:00 p.m. PT at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center. UCLA will provide live stats on The FOSH. Admission is free.

Saturday, Mar. 26 (MPSF Game – Spieker Aquatics Center)
1:00 PM PT – No. 1 Stanford at No. 2 UCLA | LIVE STATS | WATCH

This is the 92nd meeting between UCLA and Stanford with the Cardinal leading the series 54-37. Stanford won this year's meeting in the championship game of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, 12-9, on Feb. 27. The Bruins held a 4-3 lead at the end of the first period and led 6-5 at halftime. UCLA also led 8-6 after freshman Emma Lineback scored her second goal of the game from the front court with 3:35 to go in the third. But the Cardinal scored the final two goals of the period to tie the game at 8-8 heading into the fourth period. Stanford scored five straight goals to build an 11-8 lead to pull away from UCLA. The Bruins were led by senior Val Ayala, who had a hat trick and one assist for four total points. Lineback scored the two goals and added two assists for four total points as well. Sophomore Anneliese Miller and redshirt senior Maddie Musselman each contributed two goals.

Redshirt senior Maddie Musselman scored two goals in her last outing in the 14-8 win over No. 6 UC Irvine (Mar. 11) to become UCLA's all-time leading scorer with her 238th career goal on a power play at the 6:23 mark of the third period. She also scored the final goal of the game with 2:51 left in the fourth period. Musselman (239 goals) passed Kelly Rulon's (2003, 2005-07) career total of 237 goals. The 239 career goals also ranks tied for 13th all-time in MPSF history (Melissa Seidemann, Stanford, 2009-13, and Lauren Silver, Stanford, 2006-09). She also ranks 4th in career steals on the UCLA charts with 151, needing 17 to pass Katie Rulon for third place (167). The all-time leader at UCLA is Rachel Fattal with 188.

- What Adam Wright had to say about the record
""I'm very happy for her. You talk about the history of this program, that's a pretty big-time record. It's nice to be a part of it, but more than the record, I'm proud of the impact that she has had on this program in all facets."

- What Maddie Musselman had to say about the achievement
"It's exciting but I think the biggest thing for me is that I've looked up to the people on that list for a long time. I tried to emulate them as a player. I watched them in the Olympic Games when I was growing up and just to be on the same list as them, no matter what number I am at on that list, is something that I'm very humbled by. To be a part of that legacy is huge."

After a two-year hiatus to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with Team USA, senior attacker Maddie Musselman has returned to complete her senior season at UCLA. Musselman tied for the team scoring lead with 18 goals in the Tokyo Olympics, leading Team USA to its third-straight gold medal (her second) 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).

UCLA has signed men's and women's water polo head coach Adam Wright to a new six-year contract that will start in July of 2022, it was announced on March 22 by Martin Jarmond, the Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics. Wright was named the head coach of the UCLA Men's Water Polo team in 2009 and became the Bruins' Women's Water Polo head coach in 2017.

He currently has the Bruin women ranked second in the nation with an overall record of 21-1 and 3-0 in the MPSF. Wright has an overall record of 102-23 (.816) with the women's program, guiding UCLA back to the NCAA Championship game last year for the first time since 2017.

Wright just concluded his 13th season as UCLA's head men's water polo coach in 2021 with an overall record of 296-58 (.836) and an MPSF mark of 59-23 (.719). His teams earned perfect APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores of 1,000 in 2014, 2015 and 2016, all while winning NCAA Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2017. He won his fourth NCAA Championship with the men's team in 2021 (for the 2020 season).

- What UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond had to say about Coach Wright
"It takes a special kind of leader to build both a men's and a women's water polo program, and to sustain them at an elite level simultaneously. Adam is that leader. He brings out the best in the young men and women he coaches. Beyond teaching, developing and inspiring our water polo student-athletes, Adam's attitude and team-first mentality within on our athletic department are invaluable. He is a Bruin Hall of Famer, and Westwood is where he belongs. I'm thrilled to have him here for a long time."

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.

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.
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).

Adam Wright is in his fifth season as UCLA's head women's water polo coach in 2022 with an overall record of 102-23 (.816) and an MPSF mark of 20-8 (.714). He recently won his 100th game at the helm of the women's program with a 9-8 victory at No. 4 California (Mar. 5, 2022). 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).

The Bruins held steady at No. 2 in the 2022 CWPA National Women's Varsity Top 25 Poll (96 points), released on Mar. 23.

 2022 WOMEN'S VARSITY TOP 25 (Week 9 - Mar. 23)
 Rank  Team  Week 8 Poll  Points
 1  Stanford  1  100
 2  UCLA  2  95
 3  USC  3  93
 4  California  4  88
 5  Hawai'i  5  84
 6  UC Irvine  6  80
 7  Michigan  7  76
 8  Fresno State  8  72
 9  Arizona State  9  64
 10  Long Beach State  10  63
 11  UC Davis  11  60
 12  UC San Diego  12  58
 13  San José State  13  53
 14  Indiana  15 (T)  45
 15  Wagner  14  44
 16  Pacific  15 (T)  41
 17 (T)  Loyola Marymount  17  34
 17 (T)  UC Santa Barbara  18  34
 19 (T)  San Diego State  20  25
 19 (T)  Princeton  19  25
 21  Brown  21  20
 22  Harvard  22  18
 23  LIU  23  11
 24 (T)  Marist  24  7
 24 (T)  CSUN  25  7
 RV  California Baptist University  RV  1
 RV  Iona  RV  1
 RV  Bucknell  RV  1