Yesterday morning, #4 UCLA edged #5 Hawai’i, 9-8, in the quarterfinals of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at UC Irvine. As a result, the Bruins moved onto a semifinal match against #1 Stanford where UCLA fell, 10-3.
This morning, the Bruins will face #2 UC Berkeley in the 3rd Place game of the tournament.
In the quarterfinal game, UCLA drew first blood when Lexi Liebowitz scored about a minute into the game. The teams would alternate goals for the rest of the first half. Hawai’i tied the game with 5:23 left in the first quarter and Lizette Rozeboom gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with a powerplay goal just over a minute left in the quarter.
Hawai’i tied it back up to start the second quarter scoring, but Liebowitz scored her second goal of the game with 5:33 to go in the half. The Rainbow Wahine tied it again with 4:03 and 2:01 to go. In between those goals, Brooke Maxson put the Bruins in front again with 3:30 left. With the score tied 4-4 and 1:31 left in the half, Maddie Musselman scored to give UCLA a 5-4 lead at the break.
Rozeboom picked up her second powerplay goal of the game with 5:15 to go in the third quarter to give UCLA a two-goal advantage, but, again, Hawai’i came back scoring consecutive goals to tie it up at 6-6 after three quarters.
Just 31 seconds into the fourth, Bronte Halligan gave UCLA the lead for good when she broke the tie to make it 7-6, Bruins. About two minutes later, Maxson doubled UCLA’s lead to 8-6. Hawai’i took advantage of a power play to cut the lead back to one with 3:49 to go, but Musselman came through 38 seconds later to give the Bruins a two-goal lead again. That goal ended up being the game-winner as Hawai’i could only score one more goal in the final three minutes.
With the win, UCLA advanced to the semifinals against Stanford. Unfortunately, this game was over early as the Bruins took a 10-3 beating in this one. The Cardinal scored three first quarter goals before Grace Reego finally got UCLA on the scoreboard with 1:19 left in the quarter. That would be the Bruins only first half goal.
Meanwhile, Stanford added three more second quarter goals with the first one of the quarter proving to be the game-winner.
It got a little better in the third quarter for UCLA, but not much. Devin Grab scored the first goal of the second half to cut the Cardinal lead to four, but the Cardinal responded and made it 7-2. With 3:07 left in the third quarter, Myrna Simmons scored for the Bruins, but that was UCLA’s last goal of the game as Stanford held the Bruins scoreless for the final 11 minutes of the game while the Cardinal scored three more times to win the game 10-3 and advance to the championship game against Southern Cal, who edged UC Berkeley, 6-5, in the other semifinal.
As a result, the Bruins will face the Golden Bears in the tournament’s Third Place Game this morning at 11:30 am.
The Bruins still have an opportunity to move up in the polls after this weekend if they can bounceback with a win over #2 UC Berkeley today. UCLA is looking to avoid their third loss of the season. A loss would give UCLA one loss against each of their three MPSF rivals before MPSF play begins at UC Berkeley on March 10th.
This is your UCLA vs. UC Berkeley women’s water polo open thread.