#3 UCLA Women's Water Polo to Battle #1 Southern Cal
After eleven days off, the Bruins will end the regular season this weekend against the rival Trojans.
The UCLA women’s water polo team has had the last eleven days off since they returned from their four-game road trip to Tempe and Indiana which saw the Bruins split with the Sun Devils and sweep the Hoosiers. The loss to Arizona State resulted in UCLA slipping from second to third in the rankings, but they have a chance to get that back and then some today and tomorrow when the Bruins host crosstown rival #1 Southern Cal. First sprint for today’s game is scheduled for 11 am PT. While this weekend’s games won’t be televised, they will both be livestreamed.
Last Time Out
After nearly doubling up the Hoosiers in the first game of the two-game set, UCLA struggled in their second game against Indiana. The game was a whole lot closer than it probably should have been.
Indiana actually got on the scoreboard first with a power play goal with 6:06 left in the first quarter, but the Bruins responded just over a minute later when Abbi Hill tied the game up, 1-1. UCLA was on another power play 51 seconds later when Brooke Maxson put the Bruins ahead, 2-1. After Izzy Mandema scored her second goal of the game for the Hoosiers, Ava Johnson put UCLA ahead again, 3-2. With 2:14 left in the quarter, Indiana tied it up again, but Abbi Hill added two late goals to complete a first quarter hat trick and the Bruins led 5-3 after one.
Zoe Crouch scored twice in the second quarter to tie the game again. UCLA didn’t get on the scoreboard in the second quarter until there was just over two minutes left in the half, when Hill scored her fourth goal. Hannah Palmer’s goal with 1:01 to go was sandwiched by a pair of goals by Indiana’s Tina Doherty. With the game now tied 7-7, Lexi Liebowitz gave UCLA the lead at the half when she netted the ball with nine seconds to play in the first half.
Each team scored a pair of goals in the third quarter. The Bruins scored first when Ava Johnson landed one in the net just 13 seconds into the second half. Indiana cut UCLA’s lead in half. But a goal by Katrina Drake had the Bruins up by two with 4:38 to go in the third quarter. The final goal of the third came when the Hoosiers scored with 3:57 left.
The first six-plus minutes of the fourth quarter belonged to the Bruins. During that stretch, UCLA put the game away with four consecutive goals. Palmer scored the first two goals in the fourth to wrap up a hat trick while Bella Baia added another insurance goal with 5:20 left. The Bruins’ final goal was scored by Hill, her fifth, with 4:34 to go. Indiana wasn’t able to score until there was just 1:35 left, but they couldn’t overcome the fourth quarter barrage and UCLA went on to win, 14-10.
Southern Cal Trojans
While UCLA has gotten through the season with just two losses, one to Stanford and one to Arizona State, the Trojans remain undefeated. But the Bruins are just two games behind Southern Cal in the MPSF standings. That means that this weekend’s games will determine who wins the regular season title.
If UCLA can win both games, they will win the title. If Southern Cal can earn at least a split, they win the title.
With the Bruins having eleven days to prepare for the Trojans, I think that Adam Wright will have these ladies ready to go after their crosstown rivals, but I still expect both of these games to be close ones. In fact, I won’t be surprised to see one or both games go into overtime. Ultimately, I think UCLA wins today, 11-10.
#3 UCLA Women’s Water Polo (10-2, 8-2)
Opponent: #1 Southern Cal Trojans (16-0, 10-0)
When: 11:00 am PT, Saturday, April 24, 2021
Where: Spieker Aquatics Center, Los Angeles, CA
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Stats: TheFosh.net
Go Bruins!!! Beat $c!!!!