Stanford, UCLA add Pac-12's 502nd and 503rd NCAA titles on Sunday
SAN FRANCISCO - The nation's two winningest collegiate athletics programs added to their record NCAA national championship totals on Sunday as STANFORD claimed the women's soccer title and UCLA captured the men's water polo crown.
The Cardinal and Bruins continue to pace all Division I athletic departments with 114 all-time national championships apiece. The titles also mark the 502nd and 503rd overall NCAA national championships for members of the Conference of Champions, by far the most of any league in the country with the Big Ten a distant second (307, based on current membership).
Other conferences also do not come close to the number of men’s (298 vs. 215 - Big Ten), women’s (174 vs. 100 - SEC), and combined (30 vs. 21 - Big 12) NCAA titles in comparison to the Pac-12. Additionally, the 503 combined titles have come across 29 different sports.
Both events were all-Pac-12 affairs as Stanford edged UCLA, 3-2, in the women's soccer finale Sunday morning before UCLA posted a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over USC in the men's water polo title tilt in the afternoon.
The Cardinal won its second NCAA Women's College Cup to give the Pac-12 five all-time titles in the sport, the second-most of any conference.
The Bruins won the men's water polo national championship for the third time in four years and the 11th time in program history. UCLA (11), CALIFORNIA (14), Stanford (10) and USC (9) have accounted for 44 of the 49 men's water polo national championships since the event's inaugural staging in 1969.
At the Women's College Cup in Orlando, No. 1 seed Stanford's (24-1-0) thrilling 3-2 victory over No. 2 seed UCLA (19-3-3) was a fitting end to the first-ever all-Pac-12 final in the sport.
The two Pac-12 teams combined for the highest scoring final since 2012 and the 3-2 margin marked the first time in College Cup history that both teams scored two-or-more goals in the championship match. The Pac-12 is now one of three conferences (ACC, WCC) to have repeat national champions following USC's crown in 2016.
Stanford's NCAA-leading offense netted two goals in the opening 25 minutes, only to have UCLA knot the match with tallies in the 55th and 59th minutes. Most Outstanding Player Jaye Boissiere converted the game-winner in the 67th minute off an assist from Catarina Macario, the nation's leading point-producer who assisted all three goals, and the Cardinal held on for its 22nd consecutive victory this season and second national title in program history.
In the men's water polo final at No. 3 USC's (27-4) Uytengsu Aquatics Center, No. 1 UCLA (21-4) erased a 3-2 halftime deficit and broke a 5-5 tie early in the fourth period before sealing the championship with a defensive stop and pool-length goal from goalie Alex Wolf with two seconds to play.