April 26, 2003
Stanford, CA - The No. 1 ranked UCLA women's water polo team defeated the USC Trojans 7-6 in sudden death overtime to advance to the championship game of the MPSF tournament. A 6 on 5 goal by senior Jessica Lopez with 2:23 remaining in the first sudden death overtime period won the game for the Bruins. UCLA is now 21-3 overall.
The Bruins struck first against USC with a goal from junior Natalie Golda coming with 6:02 remaining in the first period. After the Trojans answered back, with 2:11 left in the period, the Bruins were able to take the 2-1 lead on their very next possession with a goal from freshman Lauren Heineck. In the second period each team exchanged goals, with freshman Kelly Rulon's goal with 2:47 left giving the Bruins the 3-2 lead at half.
In the third period USC would score twice, before a 4 meter penalty shot from Golda knotted the scored at 4-4. In the fourth period, the Trojans would again take the lead, but the Bruins were able to answer back with a goal from senior Ashley Stachowski with 2:11 left. After neither team was able to score, the game went to two three minute overtime periods. USC was again able to score first, and the Bruins went into the second overtime period down 6-5. But, with 1:46 remaining, Golda found the back of the net for the third time to tie the game at 6-6 and send it into sudden death overtime. The Bruins got off to a shaky start in the first sudden death overtime period, allowing a breakaway on the Trojans first possession. However, USC was not able to convert the opportunity and on UCLA's very next possession, senior Jessica Lopez found the back of the net on a 6 on 5 opportunity to give the Bruins the 7-6 victory. Senior goalie Jaime Hipp was outstanding in net for the Bruins, recording thirteen saves, including four saves in overtime.
The Bruins won the season series against the Trojans 3 games to 1, which translates into five Gauntlet points for UCLA. Tomorrow's championship game will be at 3:15 PM against the Stanford Cardinal. It will be the teams fourth meeting of the season; in the teams last meeting UCLA defeated Stanford 7-3.
UCLA vs. USC - 4/26/03
Saves - UCLA: Jaime Hipp 13, Kelly Graff 11