When we last checked in on UCLA Women’s Water Polo, they were preparing to battle Stanford in the championship game of the MPSF Tournament.
And, it was a battle, at least in the first half.
Rachel Fattal scored two goals and Maddie Musselman scored one in between Fattal’s while Stanford scored three first half goals as well and the teams were tied 3-3 at the half.
But, this game was destined to be a low-scoring defensive struggle.
The game remained tied until 3 minutes and 54 seconds into the second half when Fattal broke the tie with what would be the eventual game-winner. It also gave her a hat trick for the day. Alexa Tielmann added another third quarter goal and the Bruins led 5-3 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, UCLA Goalkeeper Carlee Kapana shut Stanford down with four saves in the quarter alone to ensure the Bruin victory while Alys Williams added an insurance goal midway through the period.
That victory earned UCLA their 11th MPSF Women’s Water Polo championship and the top-seed in the NCAA Tournament which officially began last weekend with an opening round game between Wagner and UC San Diego and another between Pacific and Pomona-Pitzer. In those games, Wagner squeaked by UCSD 6-5 while Pacific topped Pomona-Pitzer by a score of 11-5.
The Bruins head to Indianapolis where there will take on Wagner today in the first quarterfinal game. Wagner College is a small, private liberal arts college located on Staten Island in New York City with an enrollment of 2,200. Wagner is ranked 16th in the nation in this week’s CWPA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Assuming UCLA defeats Wagner, the Bruins will face the winner of today’s game between #4 seed UC Irvine and UC Berkeley.
Overall, UCLA looks to have the easiest route to the championship game since the other two quarterfinals feature #2 seed Stanford and #3 seed Southern Cal. Since those two teams will probably have to face each other tomorrow and then potentially face UCLA on Sunday for the National Championship.
But, before they can think about that, Stanford has to face Pacific today while Southern Cal plays Michigan in the final game of the day.
This is your NCAA Women’s Water Polo open thread.