NCAA tournament women's water polo results: Stanford beats UCLA in championship game
The seeding for the NCAA women's water polo tournament turned out to be quite accurate: The top-seeded Stanford Cardinal took home the 2014 NCAA championship with a win over No. 2 UCLA, and Pac-12 representatives finished in first through fifth place. Here's how the final competitions of the season went on Sunday at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
The Cardinal trailed the Bruins 5-2 with seconds left in the first half before a shot by Anna Yelizarova went into the goal with a second remaining before the intermission. That was the first of seven consecutive scores for Stanford, which outscored UCLA 6-0 in the second half to win, 9-5, giving the program its third national championship in four years. Annika Dries led the Cardinal with three goals while Maggie Steffens got involved with a single score to go with three assists.
National Champs! Stanford beats UCLA, 8-5, for NCAA title #4! #gostanford
— Stanford Water Polo (@Stanfordh2opolo) May 12, 2014
The Bruins' hot first half wasn't enough. They got 21 shots on the goal for the day and held strong with goalkeeper Sami Hill recording nine saves, but the attack couldn't get decent enough looks at the goal in the second half. Kelly Ronimus scored a goal for UCLA and also had an assist each to Alexa Tielmann and Kodi Hill.
Last season's NCAA champion USC Trojans couldn't overcome the second-seeded UCLA Bruins on Saturday, but they recovered on Sunday to take third place in an 11-8 win against the California Golden Bears. Monica Vavic and Eike Daube did the heavy lifting, scoring three times apiece. Kaleigh Gilchrist added a score and three assists, and goalkeeper Flora Bolonyai had 10 saves on the afternoon.
— USC Water Polo (@USCWaterPolo) May 11, 2014
Ashley Young and Roser Tarrago led the No. 4 seed Golden Bears with two scores apiece, but Cal struggled to keep pace with the Trojans. The Golden Bears trailed 10-4 until a 4-1 scoring frenzy in their advantage in the final 2:30 of the fourth quarter.
Arizona State's Petra Pardi scored two goals and assisted Ao Gao for another score to push the Sun Devils past the UC Irvine Anteaters, 6-5, on Sunday to finish the season in fifth place. ASU had some catching up to do by falling behind 3-0 before Pardi found Gao for the first of three consecutive scores. The victory, which came a day after the Sun Devils' first NCAA win, finished off the team's first NCAA tournament appearance on a high note.