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Quest For 114: UCLA Women’s Water Polo Cruises Past Wagner, Faces UC Berkeley in Semis

The Bruins will have to defeat the Golden Bears for the fourth time this season in order to play for the national championship

Maddie Musselman was one of four Bruins to score a hat trick against Wagner.
Joe Piechowski

How potent is the offense of the UCLA Women’s Water Polo team?

It’s so potent that yesterday’s NCAA quarterfinal game was over before the NCAA could get the live stream working. (Sadly, the game was over before the NCAA GameCenter was reporting a score.)

It took the NCAA until there was less than 4 minutes left in the first half to get their stream working and, by that point, UCLA already had an 8-0 lead.

The Bruins scored six goals in the first quarter alone. The first came just over a minute into the game when Alexa Tielmann got UCLA on the scoreboard. Just thirty seconds later, Kodi Hill made it two to nothing. Just past the four minute mark, Tielmann scored what would be the eventual game-winner on a power play. Alexis Angermund also took advantage of two power play chances to make it 5-0. Rachel Fattal got in on the scoring frenzy with 1:34 left in the first quarter to give the Bruins a 6-0 lead after one.

Maddie Musselman scored her first goal of the game on a power play just 16 seconds into the second quarter while Mackenzie Barr made it 8-0 about a minute later. With 1:06 left before the half, Tielmann scored her third goal of the game, completing her hat trick and giving the Bruins a 9-0 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, Musselman netted her second goal of the game about a minute into the half. Fattal made it 11-0 with 5:15 to go in the third when she scored her second goal of the game. Just 48 seconds later, Musselman became the second Bruin to record a hat trick in the game and UCLA led 13-0.

That lead was enough for Bruin head coach Brandon Brooks to take out goalkeeper Carlee Kapana with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Kapana saved all 8 shots made by Wagner until that point and she was replaced by Hannah Storum. Kimberly Watson finally got the Seahawks on the scoreboard with 2:08 left in the third.

In the fourth quarter, it was more of the same as Rachel Whitelegge 49 seconds into the quarter while Barr became the third Bruin to record a hat trick less than a minute after Whitelegge’s goal. Jacqueline Sjogren scored Wagner’s second goal of the game to cut the Bruins’ lead to 15-2, but that’s as close as Wagner could get as Angermund became the fourth Bruin hat trick of the game with 3:06 to go. Aubrie Monahan became the eighth Bruin to score on the day when she scored with just a second left.

The key to this game was the Bruin power play. They scored on 8 of the 12 Wagner exclusions and Mackenzie Barr was able to take advantage for all three of her goals.

Meanwhile, in other tournament action, UC Berkeley defeated UC Irvine 9-7 to advance to the semifinals against UCLA. Stanford easily defeated Pacific, 13-6, and Southern Cal took care of Michigan, 12-6. Stanford and Southern Cal will meet in the second semifinal game this afternoon.

UCLA has played UC Berkeley three times so far this season and the Bruins have won all three meetings. But, that doesn’t mean the team can take this game lightly as two of the three games were decided by just one goal. The Golden Bears will be looking to avenge those losses. Just two weeks ago in the MPSF Tournament, the game went down to the wire and UCLA needed a defensive stop by Rachel Fattal with time running down to seal the game.

I would have felt a lot more confident about today’s game if UC Irvine had beaten the Golden Bears since UCLA defeated UCI twice this season by a score of 16-1 both times.

With a trip to the national championship game on the line for both teams, I would expect today’s game to be another knockdown dragout between the Bruins and the Golden Bears.

Go Bruins!