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No. 3 UCLA Routs No. 1 USC, 13-6

Apr 25, 2021
Val Ayala scored a game- and career-high four goals in the blowout win over the Trojans on Sunday.

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LOS ANGELES -- No. 3 UCLA (11-3, 9-3 MPSF) secured the No. 2 seed at the 2021 MPSF Championship with a 13-6 rout of previously undefeated and top-ranked USC (17-1, 11-1 MPSF) on Sunday at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center. With the win, the Bruins improved to 52-35 all-time against the Trojans. Today's win marked the largest margin of victory for UCLA over USC in 20 years when the Bruins defeated the Trojans by the same score of 13-6 on March 9, 2001.

Junior Val Ayala scored a game- and career-high four goals in the win and added an assist for five points. Senior Lexi Liebowitz also tallied five points today with a goal and a game-high four assists against the Trojans. Redshirt sophomore Georgia Phillips got the start in the cage and went the distance, recording 11 saves while holding USC to just six goals (only one at even strength). Phillips picked up one of her saves on a Trojan penalty shot and made another at point-blank range.

The Trojans got on the board first when Denise Mammolito converted a penalty shot (7:02). UCLA's Anneliese Miller tied things at 1-1 with a center cage skip shot (6:25). Ayala gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish when she took a feed from Ava Johnson at the 4:32 mark of the opening period and used an off-speed shot for her score of the game. Abbi Hill followed after with a power play goal (1:09) to push the lead to 3-1. Bayley Weber ended the scoring in the first period with a goal from the front court (0:40) to trim the Bruins' lead to 3-2.

Bella Wentzel scored on a cross-cage heater (2:03) to open the scoring in the second period. But USC's Maud Megens responded with a power play goal (1:30) to make it 4-3 Bruins. Ayala's second goal came with just 0:02 left in the second period when she converted a penalty shot, giving the bruins a 5-3 lead at the break and all the momentum.

UCLA used that momentum to outscore USC 4-0 in the third period. The Bruins got two more goals from Ayala in the third (4:30 and 0:51). Senior Brooke Maxson (5:14) and freshman Malia Allen (1:45) also contributed one goal in the third to help UCLA take a 9-3 lead into the fourth.

The Bruins won the final period 4-3. Liebowitz scored a power play goal (7:14) and junior Katrina Drake scored a goal from two meters (4:06). Hannah Palmer got in on the scoring as well, converting a penalty shot (5:25) and scoring the final goal of the game from the front court (1:05) to provide the 13-6 final.

Holly Parker registered seven saves for the Trojans, who were led in scoring by Mammolito's two goals.

The Bruins return to action on Friday, April 30 when they travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the 2021 MPSF Championship hosted by Arizona State. Second-seeded UCLA will face seventh-seeded San Jose State in the first game of the tournament on Friday, April 30 at 9:00 a.m. PDT at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.

No. 1 USC at No. 3 UCLA (Final Regular Season MPSF Game - Game 14)

No. 1 USC 2 1 0 3 6
No. 3 UCLA 3 2 4 4 13

6x5 - UCLA - 3/13 - USC - 3/6
Penalties - UCLA - 1/2 - USC - 2/3

UCLA Goals: Val Ayala 4, Hannah Palmer 2, Abbi Hill 1, Bella Wentzel 1, Anneliese Miller 1, Malia Allen 1, Katrina Drake 1, Brooke Maxson 1, Lexi Liebowitz 1
UCLA Saves: Georgia Phillips 11

USC Goals: Denise Mammolito 2, Bayley Weber 1, Maud Megens 1, Grace Tehaney 1, Sophia Lucas 1
USC Saves: Holly Parker 7