May 13, 2005
The top-seeded UCLA Bruins remain undefeated after beating the eighth-seeded Wagner Seahawks on Friday in the first round of the NCAA championship playoffs at the Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. UCLA (31-0) will face Hawaii on Saturday at 1:30 PM PDT in the semi-finals of the women's water polo championship.
UCLA began the game without any hesitation, scoring two goals within the first minute. Kelly Rulon scored first at 6:37. The Bruins went on to score nearly every possession in the first quarter. Kelly Rulon and Thalia Munro had two goals each in the first three minutes of the game.
The first quarter ended with a score of 10-1. The 10 goal count in the first quarter is the highest goal total in a quarter for the Bruins this season.
With 6:23 left in the second quarter, Wagner earned a four-meter penalty shot and Sara Kramer converted to make the score 10-2. The Bruins put in their substitutes and the Seahawks stepped up defensively in the second, holding the Bruins to only two goals, one each from Brittney Bowlus and Monique Blanchard.
The three Olympians, Munro, Golda, and Rulon scored the first three goals of the second half for the Bruins. Belden added another to make the score 16-2 at the end of the third.
Brittney Bowlus scored the first goal of the fourth for the Bruins and went on to score two more goals. Tahlia Kerr, the Bruin backup goalkeeper played for the first time since her concussion earlier in the season.
Ten different Bruins scored for UCLA. Brittney Bowlus had a season high four goals. The 22 goals ties the season goals scored in a game high.
Kelly Rulon moved her goal total to 67, the second highest individual scoring total in UCLA women's water polo history.
Wagner, the champion of the MAAC conference, is making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. With this year's expansion of the tournament to eight teams, the MAAC conference was able to be represented.
Wagner (23-8) will play the loser of the LMU/Hawaii game at 10:30 AM PDT on Saturday.
The Bruins' next match along with the USC vs. Stanford and Sunday's Championship game will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.uclabruins.com.
UCLA vs. Wagner 5/13/05 - NCAA Championship First Round
UCLA Goals: Brittney Bowlus 4, Gabrielle Domanic 3, Kelly Rulon 3, Thalia Munro 3, Natalie Golda 2, Courtney Mathewson 2, Monique Blanchard 2, Katherine Belden, Jillian Kraus, Brittany Rowe
UCLA Saves: Feher 1, Kerr 3
Wagner Goals: Jamie Fullen, Sara Kramer
Wagner Saves: Katie Hauck 5
Other Tournament Play
In earlier action, USC (24-5) easily defeated Redlands (19-12), 18-2. The Trojans consistently scored throughout the game and didn't give the Division III squad a chance. USC will play Stanford on Saturday at 12:00 PM PDT. Redlands will face the host, Michigan.
USC vs. Redlands 5/13/05 - NCAA Championship First Round
USC Goals: Miranda Nichols 3, Lauren Wenger 2, Brittany Hayes 2, Melissa Madrid 2, Erin Wilson, Mariah Van Norman, Jana Wenger, Marina Mayer, Eszter Gyori, Julie Spataru, Alison Riddle
USC Saves: Sarah Mix 6
Redlands Goals: Kelly Phillips, Meghan Rosenberger
Redlands Saves: Caitlin O'Dell
Stanford (21-7) defeated Michigan (28-13), 7-2, in a defensive battle. The game was scoreless until the 1:55 mark in the first quarter when Stanford scored with a 6-5 advantage. Michigan was held scoreless in the first half.
Stanford vs. Michigan 5/13/05 - NCAA Championship First Round
Stanford Goals: Hannah Luber 3, Alison Gregorka, Val Riss, Nancy El-Sakkary, Christina Hewko
Stanford Saves: Meredith McColl 12
Michigan Goals: Strub, Hausmann
Michigan Saves: Armstrong 8
Loyola Marymount struggled against higher seed Hawaii and could not pull away a win. It was the closest game of the first round but Hawaii dominated throughout and would not let LMU get back into the game.
Loyola Marymount vs. Hawaii 5/13/05 - NCAA Championship First Round
Hawaii Goals: Darcy Scott-Hosaka 2, Beth Novick 2, Monika Kruszona 2, Iefke Van Belkum 2, Amy Logan, Shannon Carroll, Audrey Harrer, Anna Sieprath.
Hawaii Saves: Meike De Nooy 15
LMU Goals: Stacia Peterson 4, Sarah Hamilton 2, Christine Robinson, Rosanna Tomiuk.
LMU Saves: Rachel Riddell 10
UCLA Head Coach Adam Krikorian
On the game..."We are pleased with the win. In this tournament it was great for us to get off to a good start. It was just an awesome opportunity for us to just get a feel for what the next two games will be like. The starters got a feel for it, the goalies got a feel for it, and we got an opportunity to play some people who usually don't get a lot of playing time."
On number of early goals..."Every time we play we want to try to make a statement, whether this game or the beginning of the season. We always like to come out hard and come out fast. Again today it's always nice to get out to a lead early."
On the sport...A huge goal for us, for everyone in the sport of women's water polo should be to promote the sport and continue to grow it and the only way we are going to be able to do that is if we have teams like Wagner, or like Michigan and Indiana were when they first started, and we get them involved and excited about playing this sport and being at this level. If we never give them an opportunity and it's just solely west coast, then it will be west coast forever, and we need the East Coast and Midwest in helping us make this sport popular.