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No. 2 UCLA Defeats No. 5 Arizona State, 12-7

May 2, 2021
The UCLA Bruins captured third place today at the MPSF Championship with a 12-7 win at No. 5 Arizona State.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- No. 2 UCLA (13-4) captured third place at the 2021 MPSF Women's Water Polo Championship with a dominant 12-7 win on Sunday afternoon at No. 5 Arizona State (13-10) at ASU's Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. With the win, the Bruins improved to 29-2 all-time against the Sun Devils.

Junior Bella Baia led the Bruins in scoring with four points by adding two assists and scoring a game-high-tying two goals. Sophomore Hannah Palmer and senior Lexi Liebowitz also contributed two goals each. Senior Jahmea Bent got the start in the cage and went the distance, recording 10 saves while allowing seven goals.

The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Baia struck first with a goal at even strength (5:06). Then junior Val Ayala followed with a goal from a nice feed from sophomore Fiona Kuesis (1:44). Palmer then took a pass from sophomore Abbi Hill (0:43) and deposited it in the back of the net for the 3-0 lead. Amira Van Buren ended the Bruins' scoring run with a goal with just 0:11 left in the first to trim UCLA's lead to 3-1 at the end of the first period.

Bori Kekesi scored the first two goals of the second period to tie the game at 3-3 (6:45 and 4:49). Junior Ava Johnson then scored from two meters (3:53) to put the Bruins back in front, 4-3. Luca Petovary scored a goal at the 0:15 mark of the second to tied the game at 4-4 at the break.

The Bruins used a dominant 5-1 performance in the third period to take control of the game. Freshman Anneliese Miller opened the scoring in the third quarter (5:56) to put the Bruins back in front, 5-4. Then Liebowitz had a field block on one end and immediately scored on the other (5:06) to push the lead to 6-4. Alba Olive Marti trimmed the Bruins' lead to 6-5 with a goal at even strength (4:51). Senior Roxy Wheaton then got in on the scoring (2:29) to extend the lead to 7-5. Palmer then found the back of the net for the second time (2:02) to give the Bruins' an 8-5 advantage. Baia then tallied her second assist when Liebowitz netted her second goal (0:04) to end the scoring in the third with the Bruins leading 9-5.

Baia took over as the game's scoring leader with four points when she scored her second goal of the contest (5:02) to open the scoring in the fourth, doubling up the Sun Devils, 10-5. Ali Cameron then ended the Bruins' four-goal scoring run (3:42) with a goal for ASU. Hill then got in on the scoring (2:31) to push the lead to 11-6. Junior Bella Wentzel became the ninth different Bruin to score in the game (1:31) as UCLA doubled up ASU, 12-6. Lara Kiss scored the final goal of the game on a Sun Devil power play (0:14), the first exclusion goal for ASU on 15 attempts, to provide the 12-7 final.

Chelsea Karimazondo tended the cage for Arizona State and had two saves while allowing 12 goals. Kekesi led ASU with two goals.

The Bruins now wait for the NCAA selection show tomorrow to find out their seed. UCLA will host the 2021 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship May 14-16 at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center.

No. 2 UCLA at No. 5 Arizona State (MPSF Third-Place Match - Game 17)

No. 2 UCLA 3 1 5 3 12
No. 5 ASU 1 3 1 2 7

6x5 - UCLA - 0/6 - ASU - 1/15
Penalties - UCLA - 0/0 - ASU - 0/0

UCLA Goals: Hannah Palmer 2, Bella Baia 2, Lexi Liebowitz 2, Abbi Hill 1, Bella Wentzel 1, Val Ayala 1, Ava Johnson 1, Anneliese Miller 1, Roxy Wheaton 1
UCLA Saves: Jahmea Bent 10

ASU Goals: Bori Kekesi 2, Luca Petovary 1, Amira Van Buren 1, Lara Kiss 1, Ali Cameron 1, Alba Olive Marti 1
ASU Saves: Chelsea Karimazondo 2