No. 3 UCLA Advances to NCAA Championship Game
LOS ANGELES -- No. 3 UCLA (15-4) got off to a hot start then survived a run by No. 2 Stanford (13-6) to advance to the 2021 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship game with a 9-7 win over the Cardinal on Saturday evening at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center. With the win, the Bruins improved to 37-53 all-time against the Cardinal. It marked UCLA's first win over the Cardinal in the NCAA Tournament since the Adam Krikorian-guided UCLA squad defeated Stanford in the semifinals and USC in the finals for the Bruins' fifth-consecutive NCAA Championship in 2009.
Senior Brooke Maxson led the Bruins with a career-high three goals. Senior Jahmea Bent got the start in the cage and went the distance, recording a career-high 18 saves (including one on a penalty shot) while holding Stanford to seven goals.
Junior Katrina Drake opened the scoring in the first period (7:28) when she grabbed a rebound off the crossbar and scored. Maxson then put the Bruins up 2-0 with a lob shot (6:28). Senior Lexi Liebowitz put the Bruins up 3-0 with a power play score off a feed from junior Bella Baia (5:15). After a goal by Stanford's Hannah Constandse (4:13), junior Ava Johnson scored with a powerful move at two meters (3:32) to end the scoring in the first with the Bruins leading 4-1.
Stanford pitched a shutout in the second quarter, scoring three goals to tie the game at 4-4 at the break. Skyler Jones opened the scoring in the second quarter with a goal at even strength (5:18). Then Chloe Harbilas scored on a power play for Stanford (4:30) to cut the lead to 4-3. Harbilas scored again on a counter (3:59) to tie the game at 4-4 to end the scoring in the period.
Jewel Roemer opened the scoring for Stanford in the third period (5:36) to give the Cardinal its first lead of the game at 5-4. Maxson answered with a near-side skipper (5:15) to tie it at 5-5. Then Roemer scored her second to reclaim the lead at 6-5 (4:46). Sophomore Hannah Palmer then scored on a counter off a nice pass from Bent (3:52) to tie it at 6-6. Sophomore Abbi Hill put the Bruins back in front at 7-6 with a goal in front off a feed from Liebowitz (2:25) that ended the scoring in the period.
Liebowitz opened the scoring in the fourth with a one-on-nobody break (7:25) to push the lead to 8-6. Maxson then converted another lob shot for the first hat trick of her career (5:52) to extend the lead to 9-6. Stanford's Sarah Klass converted a penalty (5:18) to cut the lead to 9-7, providing the final score.
Emalia Eichelberger tended the cage for Stanford and had four saves while allowing nine goals. Roemer and Harbilas led Stanford with two goals apiece.
With the win, the Bruins advanced to tomorrow's title game where they will face No. 1 USC (21-1) at 3:00 p.m. PDT at Spieker Aquatics Center.
No. 2 Stanford at No. 3 UCLA (NCAA Semifinals - Game 19)
|No. 3 UCLA||4||0||3||2||9|
|No. 2 Stanford||1||3||2||1||7|
6x5 - UCLA - 2/10 - STAN - 1/7
Penalties - UCLA - 0/0 - STAN - 1/2
UCLA Goals: Brooke Maxson 3, Lexi Liebowitz 2, Abbi Hill 1, Hannah Palmer 1, Ava Johnson 1, Katrina Drake 1
UCLA Saves: Jahmea Bent 18
STAN Goals: Jewel Roemer 2, Chloe Harbilas 2, Hannah Constandse 1, Sarah Klass 1, Skyler Jones 1
STAN Saves: Emalia Eichelberger 4