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UCLA Women’s Water Polo Opens MPSF Play Against UC Berkeley

The Bruins head North to Berkeley for the start of MPSF play.

Maddie Musselman scored four goals in the Bruins’ win over UC Berkeley in the Third Place game at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational.
Richard Quinton/

The last time UCLA Women’s Water Polo played they defeated UC Berkeley in the Third Place Game at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at UC Irvine, 7-5. That win allowed the Bruins to move up from #4 to #3 in the CWPA poll. But, unfortunately, with the Bruins on a bye last weekend, UC Berkeley’s win at #1 Stanford allowed the Golden Bears to move up from #4 to a tie for #1 with the Cardinal.

As a result, the Bruins dropped from #3 back to #4 in this week’s poll.

Today, the #4 Bruins open MPSF play when they travel to Berkeley to face the Golden Bears.

As I mentioned, these teams met two weekends ago in the Third Place game of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational. When they met, the Bruins won the game, 7-5.

After getting crushed by #1 Stanford in the semifinals 10-3, UCLA came out looking to make a statement right away. And, boy, did they.

The Bruins scored the first five goals of the game, starting with a goal by Brooke Maxson less than 30 seconds into the game. With just over six minutes to go in the first, Maddie Musselman scored the first of her four goals in the game. Devin Grab would add UCLA’s third goal of the first quarter to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead after one.

Musselman scored her second goal less than a minute into the second quarter and Lexi Liebowitz capped the Bruins first half scoring when she made it 5-0 with just over five minutes left in the half. The Golden Bears managed to close the gap to 5-2 by scoring two goals in the final three and a half minutes of the first half.

Berkeley’s Carla Carrega cut the Bruins’ lead to 5-4 with consecutive goals to start the third quarter while Musselman’s third goal of the game with just 11 seconds left in the third stretched the lead back to two goals, 6-4. That goal by Musselman would prove to be the game winner.

It was Musselman scoring again less than two minutes into the fourth to give UCLA a 3-goal lead, 7-4, before the Bruin defense shut down the Bears for most of the rest of the quarter as the Bears would only manage to score once in the final frame.

This afternoon, the teams meet again at the Spieker Aquatic Complex in Berkeley. With the Bears now tied for first in the country, a win by UCLA would be big and it would certainly help them in the national championship conversation after the Bruins have previously lost to both Southern Cal and Stanford.

This is your UCLA Bruins vs. UC Berkeley Golden Bears open thread.

Go Bruins!!!