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#3 UCLA Women’s Water Polo Hosts #5 Hawai’i in a Top Five Battle

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UCLA will play their first home game of the year tonight.

Freshman Bella Baia had a hat trick against Fresno State on Sunday.
Richard Quinton/uclabruins.com

Tonight, the #3 UCLA women’s water polo team will host the #5 Hawai’i Rainbow Wahines in a battle of unbeaten Top Five teams.

And, unfortunately, the only way to follow tonight’s game is live in person because StatBroadcast doesn’t include water polo and the UCLA Athletic Department doesn’t seem to want to use TheFosh.net for live stats while most of the other top programs and many of other programs are using the site for live stats.

Last Time Out

Last Sunday, the Bruins wrapped up play in the Cal Cup with a game against Fresno State which UCLA won 14-9. Freshman Val Ayala continued her tear with another hat trick, her fourth so far, while fellow freshman Bella Baia also had a hat trick.

Ayala and Grace Reego scored UCLA’s first quarter goals which sandwiched Fresno State’s lone goal of the period. The Bulldogs briefly took their only lead of the game, 3-2, when scored the first two goals of the second period. But, with 4:42 left in the half, the Bruins opened up an offensive barrage of five consecutive goals before the half. Emily Skelly’s first goal tied it up and was followed by Baia’s first goal of the game on a power play with 2:32 left. Bronte Halligan scored just 17 seconds later to make it 5-3, Bruins. Ayala’s second goal of the game with 1:04 left while Sarah Sheldon added one more for UCLA with 30 seconds to go.

After the break, Skylar Savar and Ava Johnson kept the offensive assault going with the first two goals of the third quarter, giving the Bruins a 9-3 lead. Fresno State scored the final two goals of the quarter to cut UCLA’s lead back to four goals.

Johnson’s second goal of the game with 6:37 to go put the Bruins up 10-3 and that goal would prove to be the game-winner. After a Fresno State goal, Ayala picked up her third with 4:37 left to finish her hat trick. The Bulldogs didn’t give up and scored the next goal but Louise Hazell answered for UCLA while Baia used another power play goal to give the Bruins a 13-7 lead and she finished her hat trick with just 22 seconds left in between a pair of goals from Fresno State.

Hawai’i Rainbow Wahines

Hawai’i is an undefeated 4-0 so far this season. They opened play with the 2019 Rainbow Invite where they defeated Marist, Sonoma State and San Diego State. But their most impressive win so far came last weekend at home against then-#5 Arizona State, 10-7. As a result of that win, Hawai’i moved up from 7th to 5th in the latest CWPA Top 25 Poll.

Outlook

With the Bruins at home for this game and Hawai’i travelling to the mainland, I think UCLA has a pretty big advantage. I think Hawai’i may not have beaten Arizona State last weekend if the game hadn’t been played in Hawai’i. So, I’m expecting the Bruins to win this one. It won’t be quite as easy as last weekend’s Fresno State game, but I’m thinking that this one may finish in the neighborhood of 11-7, UCLA.

This is your UCLA women’s water polo vs. Hawai’i open thread.


Go Bruins!!!