Yesterday, the UCLA women’s water polo team defeated Michigan, 13-7, to advance to the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament Semifinals today against #2 seed Stanford at 5 pm PT.
Last Time Out
When UCLA faced Michigan yesterday, the Bruins used eight first half goals to seal the win by halftime. Michigan actually scored first when they netted a goal just over a minute into the game.
Maddie Musselman scored her first goal of the game for the Bruins just over a minute later to tie that game at a goal a piece. The teams started a scoring barrage towards the end of the first quarter when the Wolverines retook the lead with 2:27 to go, but Lizette Rozeboom tied the game, 2-2, in a powerplay just 17 seconds later. Then, with 1:38 left, Michigan scored a third time, but, again, 17 seconds later, UCLA tied the game when Rozeboom scored an even strength goal which made it 3-3. With 16 seconds to go in the quarter, Bronte Halligan gave the Bruins their first lead of the game, 4-3.
In the second quarter, UCLA was able to expand their lead to 5-3 when Kelsey Blacker scored just 27 seconds into the period. Musselman made it five consecutive Bruin goals when she scored twice. Her goal of the quarter came with 6:57 to go while her second was a powerplay goal with 5:37 left. The goals also gave her a hat trick for the game. Michigan finally ended their drought by scoring a pair of consecutive powerplay goals, first, at the 3:27 mark and, later, at the 1:37 mark, making it 7-5, Bruins. Halligan scored the final goal of the first half for UCLA when she added a powerplay goal of her own with 1:10 left in the half. UCLA took an 8-5 lead into the break.
Michigan scored first in the second half to cut the Bruins’ lead to 8-6, but Halligan responded with another powerplay goal to put UCLA ahead by three again. With 5:26 left in the third quarter, the Wolverines scored their final goal of the game. Rachel Whitelegge scored the Bruins’ final goal of the third with just 48 seconds left and UCLA was up, 10-7.
Just 32 seconds into the fourth quarter, Rozeboom finished her hat trick with her third goal of the game. Later, with 5:18 left, Musselman scored her fourth goal of the game on a penalty shot. Just over a minute later, Rozeboom scored her fourth of the game to give UCLA the 13-7 win.
UCLA has faced Stanford twice so far this season and the Bruins have lost both contests. On Februrary 23, the Cardinal won, 10-4 and, then, on April 6, Stanford won, 7-6. In the second game, the Cardinal needed to score with just 5 seconds left to edge the Bruins.
Overall, Stanford has lost just two games all season and both of those games were lost to Southern Cal. Hopefully, the third time is the charm for UCLA, but, if I’m being realistic, I think today’s game may be the end of the line for these Bruins.
Of course, Adam Wright knows that the season will be defined by today’s game (and if UCLA can win today’s game, then tomorrow’s game, too). After all, it is Championship Season.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Stanford Cardinal NCAA Semifinal open thread.