No. 4 UCLA Drops 10-7 Decision to No. 1 Stanford
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Malia Allen scored a team-leading three goals as the No. 4-seed UCLA women's water polo team lost to No. 1-seed Stanford, 10-7, in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at Canham Natatorium on Saturday.
UCLA (24-6) trailed against Stanford at halftime, 5-4, before tying the contest 5-5 midway through the third period. The Cardinal (24-2) outscored the Bruins by a 5-2 margin over the game's final 11 minutes.
Allen was one of four Bruins to score in Saturday's semifinal contest. Abbi Hill registered a pair of goals, while Katrina Drake and Emma Lineback each tallied one goal.
Bruins' goalkeeper Georgia Phillips tallied eight saves in the cage.
"Overall, much better today," UCLA head coach Adam Wright said. "I loved our energy and loved our effort. There's no doubt that we put them in a tough spot at certain points, and then it just kind of got away from us. That 6-on-5 timeout that we had called – [if] we hit that there, and instead of giving up a counter goal the other way, that's a big change in the game. Overall, I'm really proud of the effort we put in."
Stanford's Aria Fischer and Makenzie Fischer each scored three goals to lead the top-seeded Cardinal. Ryann Neushul scored two goals, and Sophie Wallace and Jewel Roemer each tallied one goal.
Stanford claimed an early 2-0 advantage midway through the opening quarter before Allen found the back of the cage at the 1:57 mark (first quarter).
Trailing 3-1, UCLA answered with a power-play goal from Hill at the 5:22 mark of the second quarter to pull within one goal of Stanford. Stanford's Aria Fischer slammed home a five-meter penalty shot with 2:49 to go before halftime. UCLA responded with a 6-on-5 goal from Allen, less than 25 seconds later.
The two teams traded goals in the final two minutes of the second quarter, as Stanford headed into the intermission with a 5-4 advantage.
After Stanford missed a five-meter penalty shot attempt with 5:23 left in the third quarter, Allen tied the game for the Bruins. The sophomore left-hander from Irvine, Calif., slammed home a goal from the corner, knotting the score at 5-5.
The Cardinal added two goals in the final three minutes of the third quarter, securing a 7-5 cushion as the game moved into the final frame.
Hill got the Bruins to within 7-6 at the 7:32 mark in the fourth period, before Stanford tallied back-to-back goals with 7:20 and 6:41 to play in regulation.
UCLA pulled its goalkeeper in the final minute, and Lineback scored at the 43-second mark to cut Stanford's margin to 9-7. The Cardinal answered, taking advantage of an empty-net situation, as Aria Fischer tallied her third goal of the game with 22 seconds to play.
Stanford advanced to the NCAA championship contest and will face No. 2-seed USC on Sunday, May 8. Game time at Michigan's Canham Natatorium is 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET, in Ann Arbor, Mich.).
The Bruins had advanced to Saturday's semifinal round after defeating UC Irvine, 8-7, in a first-round matchup on Friday afternoon.
No. 4-seed UCLA vs. No. 1-seed Stanford
Ann Arbor, Mich. (Canham Natatorium)
6x5 – UCLA: 3/12, Stanford: 1/5
Penalty Shots – UCLA: 0/0, Stanford: 1/3
UCLA Goals: Malia Allen 3, Abbi Hill 2, Katrina Drake, Emma Lineback
UCLA Saves: Georgia Phillips 8
Stanford Goals: Aria Fischer 3, Makenzie Fischer 3, Ryann Neushul 2, Jewel Roemer, Sophie Wallace
Stanford Saves: Maya Avital 5