Good Sports: The Ring Bearers
Published Apr 1, 2008 8:00 AM
For the seniors on the UCLA women's water polo team, when you talk about a ring trilogy, you're referencing their current string of three consecutive NCAA titles — and of course the last, in May 2007, gave UCLA its record 100th NCAA team championship. In 2008, the team will try to make it four in a row. With that in mind, here are four things to consider during their quest, compliments of senior attacker, All-American and Olympian Gaby Domanic:
1. First to 100: "We never talked about it," Domanic said. "It really hit us when we were in the [final] game and the [countdown] went 4-3-2-1 ... and this huge banner [that] said 'UCLA — First to 100' went streaming across."
2. The "Pyramid of Success" On Water: Coach Wooden's teams famously never talked about winning, they just focused on execution. Water Polo Head Coach Adam Krikorian '97 has a not-so-coincidental approach. "We had weekly presentations to describe in our own words what [John Wooden's philosophy] meant. That helped mold our team together with the idea that there is a long-lasting tradition at UCLA that we've tried to incorporate into our program."
3. What Happens Under Water, Stays Under Water: "And that's probably a good thing," Domanic says with a laugh. "There's grabbing, pulling, punching. I will elbow somebody. But it's the nature of the game. If the referees can't see it, then anything goes."
4. The Future Looks Good: Domanic says this year's team, with 12 new players, reminds her of her freshman class. "They definitely bring an energetic, competitive edge. In January, we went to Michigan, where it all started for us seniors in our first tournament. I think that's when the freshmen realized they really are part of a great tradition."
UCLA Women's Water Polo. Through April 17 (regular season). For tickets and information, visit www.uclabruins.com.