Adam Wright won back-to-back national titles with the UCLA men’s water polo team in 2014 and 2015. (Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)
The new UCLA women’s water polo coach is an old face on campus.
Adam Wright, who has coached the men’s water polo team since 2009, will take over the women’s program, the school announced Thursday, becoming the third coach in school history to coach both teams.
“I am extremely honored to serve as the head coach for both UCLA men’s and women’s water polo teams,” Wright said in a statement. “It is an incredible opportunity to coach the most storied program in women’s water polo. The foundation is already in place for both teams, and I am really looking forward to this new challenge.”
The women’s water polo team played in three of the past four NCAA finals, but finished second to Stanford each time. The Bruins lead the country in NCAA women’s water polo championships with seven, but haven’t claimed the title since 2009.
Wright, who won two national championships as a UCLA player, replaces Brandon Brooks, who stepped down in June.
Under Wright, the men’s program won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2014 and 2015 and had a 57-match winning streak, the longest in NCAA history.
Bleich is a one-time Penn State commit, but pulled the pledge to his home-state team in April, and committed to the Bruins on June 19. The 6-foot-6, 313-pound lineman is 241st in ESPN’s 300 national recruiting rankings. Scout.com and Rivals.com tab Bleich as a three-star prospect.
The Bruins have 11 total commits for the 2018 class, including three offensive linemen now.
Stanford has thwarted the UCLA women’s water polo team in the NCAA tournament final twice since 2014. The Bruins hope the third time will be the charm.
After a 14-11 win over Cal in the semifinal Saturday, UCLA will face the Cardinal in the championship game Sunday at 12 p.m. PT in Indianapolis. It’s the third meeting between the MPSF foes in the NCAA final during the past four years. Stanford is making its seventh straight finals appearance and won four of the past six championships.
Maddie Musselman led the top-seeded Bruins (24-1) against the Bears with four goals. Mackenzie Barr and Rachel Fattal each added three goals.
Stanford edged out USC in the other semifinal. The Bruins already have two wins against the Cardinal this year, including a 6-3 victory in the MPSF tournament final.
UCLA leads the country in women’s water polo NCAA titles with seven, but hasn’t hoisted the trophy since 2009.The championship match will be live streamed on NCAA.com.
Six Bruins helped Team USA win its second consecutive women’s water polo Olympic gold medal on Friday. The Americans defeated Italy 12-5 in the gold medal match.
Former UCLA water polo player and coach Adam Krikorian coached the squad to gold, while KK Clark (2009-12), Rachel Fattal (redshirt senior), Courtney Mathewson (2005-08), Maddie Musselman (incoming freshmen) and Sami Hill (2011-15) represented Team USA in the pool.
Incoming freshmen Madison Kocian (gymnastics) and Jessie Fleming (women’s soccer) also won medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Kocian won a gold medal in the team gymnastics competition and an individual silver on the uneven bars. Fleming won bronze with the Canadian women’s soccer team.
Men’s tennis is Sweet 16 bound as the Bruins cruised to two NCAA wins at home. The Bruins swept Weber State 4-0 in the first round, then did the same to San Diego in the second. The team faces Stanford in the Sweet 16 in Tulsa, Okla., at 5 p.m. on Friday.