Road to No. 101: Women's Water Polo v. USC

Bumped. It's turning out to be busy busy Mother's Day in terms of news. We are going to leave this post up top. Consider it as open thread as the Ladies are gunning for number 101. GO BRUINS. -N

How great is this. 

After a slow start, with the game feeling a shade too close heading into halftime, the Bruins pull away from No. 4 UC Davis with a 11-4 win to advance to their fourth consecutive NCAA title game.

Now, the only thing standing between UCLA and it's record 10th NCAA title is No. 2 Stanford No. 3 USC.  Yes, that's right, Southern Cal managed the upset Stanford in the late game, setting up a rivalry game for the National Championship.

Before we get to Southern Cal, let's start with UCLA's win over UC Davis

Tanya Gandy scored three goals in the first four minutes of the third period to help the top-ranked UCLA women's water polo team beat UC Davis 11-4 Saturday and advance to the NCAA championship match against USC.

The Trojans advanced to today's title game with a 10-6 victory over Stanford as Michelle Stein scored three straight goals to open the fourth period.

Courtney Mathewson also scored three goals for the Bruins (32-0), who will be seeking their fourth consecutive national title, and sixth since 2001.

Here's more from the official site:

A six-goal outburst in the third quarter turned a 3-2 UCLA halftime lead into a 9-3 advantage, and the Bruins dispatched UC Davis in the NCAA semifinals at Stanford University, 11-4, securing their fourth consecutive and seventh overall NCAA Championship game berth. Tanya Gandy scored three straight goals to start the second half, Courtney Mathewson added two, and Katie Rulon one in the decisive period.

...

Clinging to a 3-2 halftime lead, UCLA came out swinging early in the third quarter. Just 40 seconds into the period, Gandy scored on a skip shot, and she repeated her success with another skip shot goal with 5:15 left in the quarter to increase UCLA's lead to 5-2. Gandy made it three in a row a minute later, lofting a shot past Aggie goalkeeper Casey Hines into the right corner of the net. Lindsay Kiyama scored on UC Davis' third power play goal with 3:56 on the clock, but Mathewson answered less than a minute later with a power play goal of her own to make it 7-3 UCLA, and she scored her third of the game with 27 seconds remaining in the quarter. Rulon added a goal with two seconds left to up the Bruin lead to 9-3.

Tanyagandy_medium

(Junior attacker Tanya Gandy; Photo Credit: Nathan Tyree)

After UCLA advanced, Southern Cal surprised host and No. 2 seed Stanford to advance to the finals.  From CSTV:

The USC women's water polo team posted a dominating effort against second-seeded host Stanford in the NCAA Semifinals on Saturday, tallying a 10-6 victory over the Cardinal for the Trojans' biggest win over Stanford since 2005. Behind hat tricks from Alexandra Kiss and Michelle Stein, No. 3 seed USC secured a trip to the NCAA Championship game, where the Trojans will face undefeated UCLA in the title match at 6 p.m. on Sunday (May 11) at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.

Now, playing Southern Cal won't exactly be a new experience to the Bruins.  UCLA has already beaten the Trojans three times this season, including as recently as a one goal victory in the final of the MPSF title game.  Here's the pre-tournament scoop on Southern Cal from the Bootleg:

About the Trojans:   USC’s season started off a little shaky with surprise losses to Arizona State and Cal early on. The Trojans seem to have righted their ship recently, though, and look poised to make a deep run. Senior Veronika Bartunkova and sophomore Tumua Anae are first team All-MPSF selections, and have 44 goals and a 4.7 GAA respectively. Senior Miranda Nichols is one of the conference’s best defenders and earned a Second Team All-Conference spot. Michele Stein leads the team with 52 goals on the season. They are coached by Jovan Vavic, in his 14th season, who looks to win the women’s championship back for the first time since 2004.

The championship will begin today at 6 pm.  And, in addition to being broadcast online at www.uclabruins.com, look for the game on TV on the CBS College Sports network (formerly CSTV).

This is what it's all about ladies and gents.  One more game with No. 101 on the line.

GO BRUINS.

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