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No. 3 UCLA Falls to No. 1 USC, 18-9

May 16, 2021
The 2021 UCLA Bruins ended the year at 15-5 with a second-place finish at the NCAAs.

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LOS ANGELES -- No. 3 UCLA (15-5) got off to a slow start and never recovered, falling to No. 1 USC (22-1) in the NCAA Championship game, 18-9, on Sunday afternoon at Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center.

Sophomore Abbi Hill led the Bruins with a hat trick and had five total points (two assists). Senior Jahmea Bent got the start in the cage and had three saves while allowing 10 goals in 18:58. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Georgia Phillips came on in relief and allowed eight goals in 13:02.

USC jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Bruins made a wholesale sub and got an immediate goal from senior Roxy Wheaton on a power play (5:50) to cut the lead to 2-1. After another goal by the Trojans, the Bruins got an answer from junior Ava Johnson at set (5:03) to trim it to 3-2. Mireia Guiral ended the scoring in the period with a goal with 0:05 left to put the Trojans up 4-2.

The Trojans scored the first four goals of the second period to take an 8-2 lead and put the game away. The Bruins made a goalie change at 5:02 inserting redshirt sophomore Georgia Phillips. UCLA finally ended the Trojans' five-goal run with a power play goal by junior Val Ayala at the 2:17 mark. After another USC goal (1:50), the Bruins got an immediate answer from Hill (1:37) to make it 9-4. After the Trojans tacked on another score (1:22), Hill answered with a penalty shot conversion drawn by junior Val Ayala (1:10) to make it 10-5 USC at the break.

Johnson opened up the scoring in the third period with another goal at two meters (7:30) to cut it to 10-6, But the Trojans scored four unanswered goals to make it 14-6. Hill completed her hat trick (0:39) on a penalty shot but USC scored again (0:21) to take a 15-7 lead into the fourth.

USC won the final period 3-2 to provide the 18-9 final.

Holly Parker tended the cage for USC and had 13 saves while allowing nine goals. Maud Megens led the Trojans with six goals and nine total points (three assists).

Maxson and Johnson were named to the first team NCAA All-Tournament Team while Bent and Ayala were named to the second team. 

No. 1 USC at No. 3 UCLA (NCAA Championship - Game 20)

No. 3 UCLA 2 3 2 2 9
No. 1 USC 4 6 5 3 18

6x5 - UCLA - 3/7  - USC - 7/11
Penalties - UCLA - 2/2 - USC - 0/0

UCLA Goals: Abbi Hill 3, Ava Johnson 2, Roxy Wheaton 1, Bella Baia 1, Val Ayala 1, Brooke Maxson 1
UCLA Saves: Jahmea Bent 3, Georgia Phillips 0

USC Goals: Maud Megens 6, Verica Bakoc 4, Bayley Weber 3, Mireia Guiral 2, Grace Tehaney 1, Denise Mammolito 1, Kelsey McIntosh 1
USC Saves: Holly Parker