When we last checked in on the Bruin Women’s Water Polo team, they were facing Arizona State in the Triton Invitational Semifinals. The good news is that they narrowly defeated the Sun Devils, 7-6.
Against the Sun Devils, the Bruins got on the board first when Lizette Rozeboom scored with 2:46 to go in the first and, after one quarter, UCLA led 1-0. Things got a little dicey in the second quarter, though, when Arizona State scored three consecutive goals in a three-minute time span to take a 3-1 lead. Lexi Liebowitz narrowed that lead to 3-2 when she got the ball into the net with 1:25 left in the half.
With 4:29 to go in the third quarter, Bronte Halligan scored the only Bruin goal of the quarter to tie the game, 3-3, but, with just 12 seconds left Arizona State again took the lead with another goal.
Thankfully, all that did was make for a fun and interesting final quarter. Maddie Musselman tied it back up for UCLA just over 30 seconds into the fourth while Brooke Maxson goal with 6:20 to go gave the Bruins the lead. Unfortunately, the Sun Devils weren’t done and they tied it 5-5 with two minutes left. All that did was ramp up the excitement. Devin Grab grabbed the lead back for the Bruins with 1:25 left, but, again, ASU wouldn’t go away and they tied it 6-6 with 61 seconds left.
It looked like the teams were headed to overtime when Rozeboom brought the boom down on the Sun Devils with the game-winning goal with 10 seconds left to play. The win advanced the Bruins to the championship against crosstown rival Southern Cal.
In the championship game, Southern Cal drew first blood with 6:16 left in the first quarter and the Trojans led 1-0, but the Bruins came right back to tie the game 24 seconds later when Grace Reego scored for UCLA. But the Trojans would take the lead back with about four and a half minutes to go in the quarter to take a 2-1 lead after the first quarter.
The Trojans doubled their lead right away in the second quarter, but Musselman cut it in half when she scored the Bruins’ lone goal of the quarter with 1:52 left in the half. Rozeboom tied it back up for UCLA in the third quarter, but the Trojans scored again and led 4-3 after three.
Southern Cal would add two fourth period goals to take a 6-3 lead while the only offense UCLA could muster in the fourth was Musselman’s second goal of the game as the Bruins lost their first game of the season 6-4.
Honestly, I don’t really mind the fact that the Bruins lost this game to the Trojans. I’d much rather have them lose to Southern Cal now than later in the season when it really counts.
Meanwhile, the Bruins will look to bounce back tonight against the UC Irvine Anteaters. So far this season, the Anteaters are 3-4 with all four losses coming against Pac-12 schools UC Berkeley, Stanford, Southern Cal and Arizona State. While three of the four losses have been by two goals or fewer, it would seem that either those four teams are just simply better than UCI or the Anteaters just have trouble against the top teams in the nation.
Tonight, UCLA looks to become the fifth and final Pac-12 team to beat the Anteaters, but they will have to do it on the road. Playing UCI on the road tonight could also help the Bruins next weekend as they will be heading back down to Irvine for the Barbara Kalbus Invitational next weekend and tonight’s game will help the Bruins become familiar with the surroundings down there.
This is your UCLA Women’s Water Polo vs. UC Irvine Anteaters game thread.