MPSF Tournament Semifinal
#2 UCLA Women's Water Polo (23-3, 5-1)
Opponent: #3 Stanford (20-4, 4-2)
When: 12:45 PM PDT, Saturday, April 30, 2016
Where: Hillman Aquatic Center, Bakersfield, CA
Video: Roadrunner Sports Network
Live Stats: The FOSH
UCLA eased its way into today's MPSF Tournament semifinals with a less than impressive win against the hosts, Cal State Bakersfield. At the midpoint of yesterday's quarterfinal, the Bruins held a narrow one-goal margin over the Roadrunners. It was a sluggish start, but fortunately, the Bruins returned from the halftime break as a more focused, effective team, especially defensively.
UCLA held Cal State Bakersfield scoreless in the second half while adding a half dozen goals to its total to claim a 10-3 victory and advance to the semifinals. Three different Bruins scored a pair of goals: Devin Grab, Ashley Zwirner, and Lizette Rozeboom. UCLA goalkeeper Alex Musselman totaled five saves.
As expected, the Bruins will face the Cardinal in today's first semifinal. Unlike UCLA, Stanford didn't waste any time in beating their opponent in the quarterfinals. The third-ranked Cardinal jumped out to a 6-1 lead over #13 San Jose State before coasting the rest of the way to a 10-6 win.
UCLA and Stanford last played exactly a week ago. In the MPSF regular season finale for both team, UCLA scored a sudden-death winner in the third overtime period to claim an important 9-8 victory. However, it was clear at the time that that match would be the first of several times that the teams would likely battle in the final weeks of the season.
Whatever the result today, it seems inevitable that UCLA and Stanford will meet again in the NCAA Tournament. In likelihood, it will be in the tournament semifinal, with the prize being a chance to meet #1 Southern Cal in the final. With three losses to the Trojans already this season, the Bruins will be desperate for another opportunity to take down their crosstown rivals.