No. 3 UCLA Stuns No. 1 Stanford, Advances to NCAA Title Game
LOS ANGELES -- No. 3 UCLA (8-7) stunned 2019 NCAA Champion and 2020-21 MPSF Champion and top-seeded Stanford (6-4) with an 11-10 victory in the semifinals of the 2020-21 NCAA Championship on Saturday afternoon at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
Eight different Bruins scored in the game with sophomore Tommy Gruwell leading the way with a hat trick. Senior Nicolas Saveljic, who scored a total of 15 goals against the Cardinal in four meetings (3-1 against Stanford in 2020-21), had two more goals today. Sophomore Bernardo Maurizi played the entire game in goal for UCLA, tallying seven saves while allowing 10 goals.
Senior Chasen Travisano set up sophomore Gabe Discipulo who turned and scored from set (5:53) to put the Bruins on the board first. Then after the Cardinal tied it up, redshirt junior Evan Rosenfeld assisted Gruwell (4:01) for his first of the game on a power play to put the Bruins in front. Tyler Abramson scored his second of the period for Stanford to tie it up at 2-2, but the Bruins scored the last two goals of the period to take a 4-2 lead at the end of the first period. Saveljic gave a perfect pass to freshman Hayden Nightingale for a power play goal (1:03) and then freshman Mo Kenney hit freshman Guillermo Ocasio at two meters and Ocasio scored on a slick backhanded shot with just 0:09 remaining to extend the lead.
Stanford got the opening score of the second period, but Gruwell answered for his second score of the game on a nice pass from Rosenfeld on a 6-on-5 opportunity (4:28) to make it 5-3. Junior Jake Cavano extended the lead to 6-3 with a power play goal (3:37) and the Bruins would maintain the three-goal lead for the rest of the quarter. Kenney scored his first of the game on a power play (2:30) to make it 7-4 and Travisano scored from the front court with a cross-cage heater (1:40) to send the Bruins into the break with an 8-5 advantage.
The Cardinal held the Bruins scoreless in the third period, but UCLA held an 8-7 lead heading into the fourth as they allowed Stanford just two goals in the frame.
Freshman Tanner Pulice set up Saveljic for his first of the game on a power play (7:22) that opened the scoring in the fourth period, giving UCLA a 9-7 lead. After a goal by Stanford, Saveljic answered with his second straight goal (6:37) to push the lead to 10-8. But the Cardinal would tie the game at 10-10 with back-to-back goals from Andrew Churukian (3:28) and Abramson (1:43). Gruwell then completed his hat trick (1:13) with a power play goal that proved to be the game winner after the Bruins made a couple of defensive stops and ran out the clock.
Andrew Chun registered eight saves for Stanford, which was led in scoring by Abramson's four goals.
The Bruins will face No. 3 USC in the NCAA Championship game on Sunday, March 21 at 2:00 p.m. PDT at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 3 UCLA (NCAA Semifinal - Uytengsu Aquatics Center)
|No. 3 UCLA||4||4||0||3||11|
|No. 1 Stanford||2||3||2||3||10|
6x5 - UCLA - 8/10 - STAN - 4/9
Penalties - UCLA - 0/0 - STAN - 0/0
UCLA Goals: Tommy Gruwell 3, Nicolas Saveljic 2, Jake Cavano 1, Gabe Discipulo 1, Guillermo Ocasio 1, Chasen Travisano 1, Hayden Nightingale 1, Mo Kenney 1
UCLA Saves: Bernardo Maurizi 7
STAN Goals: Tyler Abramson 4, AJ Rossman 2, Ethan Parrish 1, Beck Jurasius 1, Andrew Churukian 1, Quinn Woodhead 1
STAN Saves: Andrew Chun 8