Yesterday, the UCLA women’s water polo team won their quarterfinal game against Michigan, 15-5, but lost to Stanford in the semifinals, 10-4. As a result, the Bruins will play UC Berkeley in the third place game this morning at 11:30 am PT.
Last Time Out
UCLA’s first game of the day was their quarterfinal game against the Michigan Wolverines. This game was over by halftime. That’s because the Bruins’ final goal of the first half turned out to be the game-winning goal for UCLA.
Despite that, the first quarter was actually a battle. The Wolverines got on the board first with a power play goal with 3:01 left in the quarter. The Bruins didn’t score until Bronte Halligan netted one with 27 seconds left in the first to tie the game at one.
Halligan’s goal was the first of eight straight for UCLA as the Bruins held Michigan scoreless in the second quarter and into the third as well. With 5:49 to go, Myrna Simmons scored to give UCLA the lead for good. Maddie Musselman followed with a power play goal less than a minute later. She picked up her second goal with 1:43 left and, 41 seconds after that, Roxy Wheaton made it 5-1, Bruins. Lexi Liebowitz added UCLA’s final goal of the half with just eight seconds left and it was 6-1 at the break.
Musselman scored the first goal of the second half to complete her hat trick with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and Val Ayala added the Bruins’ eighth straight goal to make it 8-1. After Michigan’s second goal, Sarah Sheldon and Wheaton resumed the UCLA barrage by making it 10-2, Bruins. The Wolverines would add one more goal with 52 seconds left in the third and UCLA had a 10-3 lead heading into the fourth.
Michigan started the fourth quarter scoring while Halligan got things going for the Bruins with her second of the game and the first of four straight fourth quarter goals for UCLA. Bella Baia scored the next two goals while Katrina Drake gave the Bruins a 14-4 lead. With 1:09 left, the Wolverines scored their final goal of the game and, just 21 second later, Sheldon scored her second goal of the game to wrap up the scoring with UCLA up 15-5. That set up a game against Stanford in the second semifinal game.
By the time UCLA scored a goal against the Cardinal, the game was already over. That’s because Stanford scored four times in the first and they scored the first goal of the second quarter. The Bruins finally got on the board with 2:20 left in the half and the Cardinal led 5-1 at the half.
Things didn’t get much better in the second for UCLA. Stanford made it 6-1 before Val Ayala scored to cut the Cardinal lead to 6-2. Two more goals by Stanford gave the Cardinal an 8-2 lead while Musselman’s goal with 15 seconds left sent the game to the fourth quarter with UCLA trailing 8-3.
There was no big fourth quarter comeback coming for the Bruins in this one. UCLA’s only goal in the fourth was a penalty shot by Musselman for her second goal of the game. Meanwhile, Stanford scored twice to finish the game with a final score of 10-4.
UC Berkeley Golden Bears
The Bears opened play yesterday with a 12-10 win over Hawai’i. Then later, they lost 9-8 to Southern Cal in the first semifinal game. It was UC Berkeley’s second loss of the season.
Their first loss came three weeks ago at the Stanford Invitational where they lost to the Cardinal, 17-10.
This game looks to be a toss-up and it could go either way but, regardless of the outcome, it doesn’t really matter because, ultimately, the only things which do matter are making the NCAA Tournament in a few months and the team’s performance in the tournament. That said, today’s game will be another opportunity for UCLA to play against one of the top teams in the country and, hopefully, get a little bit better before MPSF play begins next Sunday.
This is your UCLA women’s water polo vs. UC Berkeley Barbara Kalbuss Invitational third place game open thread.