UCLA Women's Water Polo Advances to MPSF Semifinals with Big Win over SJSU, 20-5
The Bruins crushed the Spartans yesterday and will face Stanford today.
The UCLA women’s water polo team made a statement yesterday against the San José State when the Bruins crushed the Spartans, 20-5. The team now moves on to the MPSF Tournament Semifinals where they will play third-seeded Stanford. Today’s game is scheduled to begin at 11:30 am PT. While it won’t be televised, it will be livestreamed, though a subscription is required.
Last Time Out
Yesterday’s game against the Spartans was over by the end of the first quarter. It was close early as UCLA and San José State traded pairs of goals during the first 4:14 of the game. Katrina Drake scored the first of her three goals less than a minute into the game to put the Bruins on the scoreboard first. Just 50 seconds later, the Spartans tied it up on a power play. Val Ayala responded 16 seconds later and UCLA had a 2-1 lead, but SJSU evened the score with 3:46 left in the quarter.
Then, the barrage began.
Over the final 28 minutes, the Bruins outscored the Spartans, 18-3. First, Bella Baia put UCLA ahead for good with back-to-back goals. San José State was able to cut the Bruin lead in half with 2:10 left, but it just delayed the inevitable. Fiona Kuesis stretched UCLA’s lead to 5-3 while Hannah Palmer netted what would prove to be the game-winner with one second left on the clock. After one, the Bruins had a 6-3 lead.
With UCLA having scored enough goals to win the game in the first quarter, the final three quarters were gravy. Roxy Wheaton got in on the party to start the second quarter and Baia added two more goals to bring her tally to four. Abbi Hill picked up the final goal of the half on a power play to give UCLA a 10-3 lead at the half.
The third quarter started in an unusual way — the Spartans scored for the first time in more than ten and a half minutes, but Hill scored the Bruins’ first goal of the second half, and her second of the game, just 17 seconds later. After Myrna Simmons put the Bruins up 12-4, the Spartans scored what would be their final goal of the game as UCLA goalkeeper Jahmia Bent kept SJSU scoreless for nearly the final eleven and a half minutes.
Meanwhile, the Bruin barrage continued as UCLA scored eight goals during that timespan. Bella Wentzel, Lexi Liebowitz and Malia Allen scored the final three goals of the third quarter to put the Bruins ahead, 15-5, after three quarters.
In the fourth, Hill finished her hat trick and Palmer scored her second goal shortly after. Drake followed with consecutive goals to become the third Bruin to score a hat trick. Finally, Baia closed out the game with her fifth goal, tying the entire Spartans team.
The Bruins and the Cardinal split the two games they played at Stanford last month. As a result, with today’s game in a neutral pool, UCLA seems to have an edge. They did earn the higher seed than the Cardinal by virtue of the fact that they had a better conference record. Of course, anything can happen.
Stanford got today’s semifinal by beating Indiana, 20-6. So, ironically, both the Bruins and the Cardinal scored 20 against yesterday’s opponents.
Today’s game is going to be a close one, but I’ve got to give the Bruins the edge because they were able to beat the Cardinal in their home pool.
MPSF Women’s Water Polo Tournament Semifinals
Opponents: #2 UCLA Women’s Water Polo (12-3, 9-3) vs. Stanford Cardinal (11-4, 8-4)
When: 11:30 am PT, Saturday, May 1, 2021
Where: Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, Tempe, AZ
Live Stream: MPSports.org (subscription req’d)
Live Stats: TheFosh.net