On Sunday, UCLA hosted the San Jose State Spartans at home in an important MPSF game and the Bruins did not disappoint.
UCLA won the game 15-4 to move to .500 in MPSF play and it moved the Bruins into second place behind UC Berkeley, which is undefeated after three MPSF games.
Myrna Simmons got on UCLA the board first with a power play goal with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter. Alexis Angermund scored two of her three goals next, about two minutes later for the first and about two minutes after that for the second. That gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead before the Spartans scored their first goal of the game with five seconds left in the first.
Kelsey Blacker and Maddie Musselman each added a goal in the first two minutes of the second quarter. The goal by Musselman would prove to be the game winner. Meanwhile, Rachel Whitelegge made it 6-1 and Lizette Rozeboom made it 7-1 at the half.
Devin Grab scored in the first 30 seconds of the second half while, less than a minute later, Angermund completed her hat trick. Rozeboom scored her second goal of the day on a power play goal that gave UCLA a nine-goal lead. The Spartans picked up their second goal of the game with 4:19 left in the third, but Musselman responded with her second goal of the game as UCLA led 11-2 heading into the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter goals by Grab, Blacker and Lexi Liebowitz gave the Bruins a 14-2 lead before San Jose State added two goals. It was too little too late as that was all the offense the Spartans could muster. Emily Skelly scored the game’s final goal to finish things up with a score of UCLA 15, San Jose State 3.
Today’s games should be interesting. On one hand, both teams are in the Top 15. So, they should be quality opponents, but, unfortunately, in college water polo, there is a huge drop-off between the Top 4 teams and all of the other ranked teams.
As a result, it would be a shocker if either of these games was closer than a five-point margin of victory and a ten-point margin of victory is probably more realistic. That said, Hartwick looks to be the better of today’s opponents, even though Long Beach State is ranked a little higher. That’s because the Hawks enter play today with a 19-4 record while the 49ers are just 9-10 coming into today.
But, it doesn’t change the fact that the Bruins need to treat today’s games like two practices as they finish off the MPSF portion of their schedule and head into the MPSF Tournament at the end of next month.
UCLA needs to be playing their best water polo over the next month as they will face Arizona State and Stanford at home and then Southern Cal across town before they play in the MPSF Tournament at the end of April.
If UCLA cannot beat Stanford and/or Southern Cal, they may find themselves on the outside looking in when the NCAA Tournament happens in May.
This is your UCLA Women’s Water Polo doubleheader open thread.