The result of UCLA’s NCAA Women’s Water Polo quarterfinal match was in little doubt from the beginning yesterday. That’s because the Bruins scored early and often enough to advance to today’s semifinal against crosstown rival Southern Cal.
Roxy Wheaton got the scoring started for the Bruins with a goal with 6:42 left in the first quarter and that’s the way it stood until Lizette Rozeboom scored her first of two goals with just 2 seconds left in the quarter.
UCLA would add a second quarter powerplay goal by Nicole Reynolds and an even strength goal by Lexi Liebowitz before the Tigers would finally get on the scoreboard with 2:54 left in the half. The Tigers also managed to score with just a second left in the half to make it 4-2 at the break.
Devin Grab scored twice for UCLA to start the third quarter. Grab’s second goal came as a result of a Bronte Halligan breakaway that Halligan dished to Grab for the score. Just 24 seconds later, Pacific scored to cut the Bruins’ lead to 6-3 after three quarters.
With 6:40 left in the game, Rozeboom picked up her second goal of the game and Liebowitz did the same less than minute later. While the Bruins went into the water polo version of the North Carolina “Four Corners” offense to kill the clock with about two minutes to go, Pacific managed to score one more time with 1:51 left to make the final score 8-4.
One item of note is that Maddie Musselman, the Bruins’ leading scorer did not play yesterday against Pacific. During the NCAA Live Stream, it was suggested that she was out with an undisclosed medical issue.
And, now, it’s almost time for the “real” season to begin. It’s an all-Pac-12 foursome fighting for the national championship as Southern Cal, Stanford and UC Berkeley all advanced to today’s semifinals. Given how the bracket is set up, it’s almost like the first game is the Pac-12 South championship between UCLA and Southern Cal while the second one is like the Pac-12 North championship between the Cardinal and the Golden Bears.
Of course, that means that the Bruins need to accomplish something they haven’t been able to do all season: Beat Southern Cal. In fact, three of UCLA’s seven losses have come against the Trojans.
In those three games, the Bruins have allowed 30 goals to Southern Cal while only scoring 19 against them.
The Bruins will certainly be at a disadvantage if Musselman is unable to play today as well after missing yesterday’s game against Pacific. Hopefully, she’ll be able to play, but, if she can’t, UCLA will need the rest of the team to really step up. After all, today is the biggest game of the season so far and the loser goes home.
The Bruins need to be at their best today if they want to beat a Southern Cal team that finished the season with a 24-1 record.
There’s no TV for today’s game either, but it will again be streamed on NCAA.com.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Southern Cal Trojans NCAA Women’s Water Polo semifinal open thread.
Go Bruins!!! Beat SC!!! Bring home 117!!!