This afternoon, the UCLA women’s water polo team (22-5) will face the Southern Cal Trojans (24-1) in the semifinals of the MPSF Women’s Water Polo Tournament at the Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto.
Last Time Out
Yesterday, in the first round of the MPSF Tournament, UCLA defeated Arizona State, 10-5. This game was basically over by halftime.
UCLA scored the first five goals of the game. Val Ayala and Grace Reego scored the Bruins’ two first quarter goals while Kelsey Blacker, Ava Johnson and Bronte Halligan each added a goal in the second quarter before the Sun Devils finally scored their lone first half goal with 2:17 to go in the half.
After the break, Arizona State opened the second half with the first two goals of the half while Halligan’s second goal of the game with 5:40 left in the third was the Bruins’ lone goal of the third quarter. That goal would prove to be the game winer.
In the fourth quarter, Ayala’s second goal started the scoring for UCLA. After ASU scored their final goal of the game with 5:44 left, the Bruins went on to add goals from Katrina Drake, Maddie Musselman, and Lexi Liebowitz to wrap up the scoring with three insurance goals.
Southern Cal Trojans
The Trojans beat the Bruins in both regular season meetings including last weekend’s regular season finale, which Southern Cal won 9-8.
In that game, the Trojans led 8-5 after three quarters and UCLA mounted a comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, but they fell a goal short due to the fact that Southern Cal added an insurance goal just 33 seconds after the quarter began.
While today’s game is important, the good news is that the outcome shouldn’t affect the Bruins’ NCAA Tournament chances. It could certainly affect the seeding for the NCAA Tournament, but, win or lose, UCLA should still make the tournament again this year.
That, of course, means that the primary motivating factor for UCLA to win today is to “Beat SC!” After almost beating them a week ago, I think the third time will be the charm for the Bruins, but they might need overtime to do it.