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UCLA Women’s Water Polo Blasts the Beach; Moves on to Michigan Today

The Bruins won their first game of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at UC Irvine yesterday when they cruised past Long Beach State, 16-6. UCLA will play two more games today.

Sarah Sheldon had a hat trick yesterday against Long Beach State.

After the Bruins cruised past Long Beach State yesterday, UCLA advances to the quarterfinals of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational this morning when they play #6 Michigan at 11:45 am PT.

Last Time Out

In UCLA’s opening game of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at UC Irvine, the Bruins throttled the Long Beach State 49ers by a score of 16-6. Sarah Sheldon had a hat trick for UCLA while Maddie Musselman, Bella Baia, Louise Hazell and Val Ayala each scored twice for the Bruins.

Grace Reego got the Bruins on the board with a goal just 47 seconds into the game. Just over a minute later, Baia scored her first goal of the game. Roxy Wheaton picked up UCLA’s third goal with 3:10 left in the quarter while Musselman added her first of the game 39 seconds later. In between those goals, the 49ers finally got on the scoreboard Lexi Liebowitz’s goal with 1:11 to go was the final one of the quarter for the Bruins and UCLA was up 5-1 after one.

A power play goal by Ayala 44 seconds into quarter got the scoring started in the second and her second of the game came with about four and a half to go. That would prove to be the game-winner for UCLA. Rachel Whitelegge and Baia both added power play goals, while Long Beach scored their second goal of the game with 59 seconds left in the half and the Bruins went into the break with a 9-2 lead.

UCLA’s scoring barrage continued into the second half. Sheldon scored all three of her goals in the third while Musselman’s second came in between Sheldon’s second and third goals. The 49ers were able to add two goals in the third but UCLA expanded their lead to 13-4 after three.

Long Beach scored first in the fourth quarter to make it 13-5. With 5:18 left in the game, Kelsey Blacker scored her only goal of the game. With 3:27 left, the 49ers scored again, but it would be their last goal of the game as Hazell added two goals within a minute of each other to end any hope Long Beach had of making a comeback. Her first came on a penalty shot while her second came on a power play. That gave UCLA a 16-6 lead and that’s how it ended.

Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines have had a bit of a rough start to their season, but they look like a program on the rise. So far this season, they’ve defeated three teams, Arizona State, UC Irvine and Pacific, which were all ranked in the Top Ten when Michigan played them, but they’ve also struggled against the top teams in women’s water polo. Four of their five losses have come at the hands of UCLA, Stanford and Southern Cal twice.

When the Bruins played the Wolverines last month, UCLA only won by two goals, 9-7, in one of the closest wins of the year. Michigan has won their last two games and five of their last six.

That said, I think UCLA will still win today’s quarterfinal and I think the margin of victory will be better than last month.

Assuming the Bruins beat the Wolverines, they will move on to the second semifinal against the winner of the third quarterfinal between Stanford and Pacific. The Cardinal have started the season 8-0 while the Tigers are 3-3.

This is your Barbara Kalbus Invitational, Day Two open thread.

Go Bruins!!!