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Undefeated #3 UCLA Women’s Water Polo Heads to Triton Invitational

The Bruins needed a late comeback against LMU last Saturday to stay undefeated.

Bronte Halligan’s late goal against LMU was the game-winner for the Bruins.
Don Liebig/

The UCLA women’s water polo team heads to San Diego this morning for the Triton Invitational where they will open play against the Santa Clara Broncos at 8 am PT.

Last Time Out

Last Saturday, the Bruins remained undefeated by winning a pair of games over #15 Loyola Marymount, 9-8, and #14 Fresno State, 11-8.

In the game against LMU, the Bruins needed a fourth quarter comeback to remain unbeaten. In the first quarter, the Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Sarah Sheldon got UCLA on the board with 2:02 left in the quarter and the Bruins trailed 2-1 after one.

UCLA relied on a trio of powerplay goals from Katrina Drake, Emily Skelly and Allison Wieseler in the second to tie it up 4-4 before the end of the first half. But the Bruins fell behind again in the third quarter when Jahmea Bent gave up two more goals to the Lions. Meanwhile, Kelsey Blacker scored the only UCLA goal of the period with 4:21 left in the quarter. That left UCLA trailing 6-5 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final frame, LMU scored first on a penalty shot with 5:52 left to make it 7-5, but Rachel Whitelegge responded for the Bruins just 52 seconds later to cut it back to a 7-6 LMU lead. The Lions scored again just 19 seconds later to go up 8-6 with 4:41 to go. With the clock starting to become an issue, the Bruins began their comeback. Whitelegge scored her second goal on a power play with 3:36 to go and Blacker scored her second 19 seconds later to tie the game 8-8. Then, with 35 seconds left in the game, Bronte Halligan scored the game-winner for the Bruins.

If the first game was a little too close for comfort, the second game wasn’t quite as close. UCLA got first quarter goals from Maddie Musselman and Bella Baia to go along with a penalty shot from Val Ayala to jump out to a 3-1 lead. In the second quarter, Baia and Musselman both netted their second goals as the Bruins took a 5-3 lead into the break.

After the break, Musselman’s first of three third quarter goals gave her a hat trick for the game, but she also scored a hat trick in the quarter. Grace Reego and Halligan both added powerplay goals to put the Bruins up 10-6 after three. Brooke Maxson added an insurance goal with 5:50 to play. FSU tried to comeback and, while they scored two goals in the final four minutes, it wasn’t enough and UCLA won 11-8.

Santa Clara Broncos

So far this season, the Broncos look to be pretty mediocre. Their only wins came against Fresno Pacific and Cal State Monterey Bay while they have lost to UC Davis and Cal State East Bay.

This is your UCLA women’s water polo doubleheader open thread.

Go Bruins!!!