Yesterday, the UCLA football team took care of business against Southern Cal. This morning, the UCLA men’s water polo team will look to do the same when the Bruins meet the Trojans in the Third Place Game of the MPSF Men’s Water Polo Championship.
Last Time Out
With 4:19 left in the first quarter, Stanford scored the first goal and that pretty much was the game. UCLA was stuck trying to play catch-up all game long. A power play goal by the Cardinal meant UCLA found itself down 2-0 before Ashworth Molthen got the Bruins on the scoreboard with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter.
But the second quarter was all Stanford as the Cardinal added three goals to build a 5-1 lead at halftime.
Nicolas Saveljic closed that gap to 5-2 on a penalty shot for the first goal of the second half, but UCLA gave up another goal to the Cardinal with 3:43 left in the third. Saveljic responded with two goals to pick up a hat trick and cut the Stanford lead in half to 6-4 and Chasen Travisano got the Bruins to within a goal with just under two minutes left in the quarter. Stanford scored once more before the end of the third and led 7-5 after three.
Both teams scored twice in the fourth quarter making it the most even quarter of the game. Unfortunately, that also meant that UCLA fell 9-7 to Stanford as the Bruins fall into today’s Third Place Game.
This morning’s game is the biggest game of the season for UCLA. That’s because the NCAA Tournament guarantees a spot to the winners of six conferences while only having two at-large bids. Obviously, the winner of today’s MPSF Championship Game is in the tournament. So, that leaves room for just two of the three water polo heavyweights.
As of right now, it would appear that UCLA could be on the outside looking in, considering that the Bruins have lost four games this season (twice to Stanford and once to both Southern Cal and UC Berkeley). UCLA needs a convincing win today to be able to defend their national championship.
There’s still a chance that UCLA could edge out UC Berkeley for the second at-large spot if the Bears lose and UCLA loses, but it would be much better for the Bruins if they can make it a sweep of the Trojans this weekend.
The broadcast schedule for today’s game is kind of screwy. It shows how the fine folks at the Pac-12 Networks thought the MPSF Tournament was going to play out. The Third Place Game, which features the two Los Angeles schools, will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks Bay Area while only delayed at 1 pm on Pac-12 Networks Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Championship Game, which probably would have been live in LA had one or both Los Angeles schools made the game, will not be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks LA and will be delayed until 4 pm in the Bay Area. Oops!
This is your UCLA men’s water polo vs. Southern Cal game thread.
Go Bruins!!! Beat SC! Again!