May 13, 2006
Davis, Calif. - The third-seeded UCLA Bruins upset the second-seeded and number one ranked Stanford Cardinal, 8-5 on Saturday in the semifinals of the NCAA championship playoffs at the Schaal Aquatics Center in Davis, California. The Bruins move on to the NCAA championship match on Sunday. UCLA (28-4) will face USC at 5:00 PM PDT in the finals of the women's water polo championship. This game can be seen live on CSTV and heard on the Internet at www.uclabruins.com.
The Bruins took charge from the start. Gabrielle Domanic scored on a Bruin 6 on 5 opportunity after just 21 seconds of play. Two possessions later, Thalia Munrio tapped in a redirection goal off an assist from Domanic. Stanford had a few good shot opportunities but were unable to convert as the attempts flew wide of the net. At 1:34, Kristina Kunkel snuck in a shot past Stanford goalkeeper Meridith McColl in the top left corner of the net. In the last seconds of the quarter, Emily Feher stopped an open Stanford goal. The Bruins took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter.
Kristina Kunkel was called for an exclusion with 6:06 in the second. The Bruins held back the Stanford offense on that opportunity but Kr. Kunkel was then called for a second ejection in a row. Katie Hansen took this opportunity to score the first Stanford goal. On the next Stanford possession, Christina Hewko had an open shot but Feher stopped a would be goal. Jillian Kraus scored another goal for UCLA at 4:23. Stanford responded at 3:01 as Scotti Shafer scored a goal from ten meters.
The exclusions continued to be called at a high rate as Kraus was ejected. Lauren Silver used the advantage to score a goal for the Cardinal. On the next Bruin possession, Kelly Rulon lobbed a shot over McColl. Following that, Stanford was called for a four-meter penalty and Ke. Rulon scored on the free shot. Key field saves from the team and stops by Feher helped keep the Cardinal from scoring, and the game went to halftime at 6-3.
In the second half, Kacy Kunkel drew a second four-meter penalty against Stanford. Ke. Rulon converted again on the penalty shot, giving the team a 7-3 margin. At 3:34, Courtney Mathewson was ejected giving the Cardinal an opportunity, but Feher stopped a wide open shot from Alison Gregorka at five meters. Both teams made turnovers back and forth in the third. Feher made another incredible save with 40 seconds left, and the quarter finished without any more goals.
In the fourth, Stanford drew a four meter penalty against UCLA. Feher smothered the shot by Hewko. At 5:19 the Cardinal scored a goal to bring the score to 7-4. At 4:54, Molly Cahill lobbed in a shot over McColl to go up 8-4. Feher continued her impressive performance with three saves on wide open Stanford shots. Shafer tossed in the final Stanford goal after an ejection of Katherine Belden. The game ended with a final score of 8-5 in favor of the Bruins.
Ke. Rulon led the team with three goals. She has seven goals in the tournament and now 66 on the year, which is third all time in individual scoring for a year. Domanic, Munro, Kr. Kunkel, and Cahill also scored for UCLA. Emily Feher saved nine shots for UCLA, including five in the fourth quarter to help the Bruins hold onto the victory.
Stanford, the champion of the MPSF conference, played UCLA three times earlier this season. The Cardinal defeated UCLA twice. This is the fourth time that UCLA has defeated Stanford in the NCAA tournament since 2001.
UCLA will be playing for its eighth women's water polo national championship and 99th NCAA title.
Stanford (23-5) will play Hawaii at 3:00 PM PDT on Sunday.
The Bruins' next match is on Sunday vs. USC at 5:00 PM and will also be broadcast live on CSTV and radio on the Internet at www.uclabruins.com.
UCLA vs. Stanford 5/13/06 - NCAA Championship Semifinals
UCLA Goals: Kelly Rulon 3, Molly Cahill, Gabrielle Domanic, Thalia Munro, Jillian Kraus, Kristina Kunkel
UCLA Saves: Emily Feher 9
Stanford Goals: Scotti Shafer 3, Katie Hansen, Lauren Silver
Stanford Saves: Meridith McColl 3
UCLA Head Coach Adam Krikorian
"We picked a good time to play our best water polo. That was one of our best games of the year. We played at a high level throughout the game. Obviously, getting off to a great start like that is a tremendous boost for the confidence and the energy. Typically, we haven't gotten off to good starts this season, and I was glad we did it today."
UCLA's Gabrielle Domanic
"It was really intense from the beginning, and we just got the ball rolling and we just kept attacking from the start and didn't stop attacking. Everyone contributed today, and as long as that intensity and fire gets up, it's contagious on the bench and in the water."
Other Tournament Play
Claremont Mudd-Scripps vs. UC Davis 5/13/06 - NCAA Championship Semifinals Consolation Round
CMS Goals:Tarrin Peterson 2, Annie Richardson, Kendall Snyder
Hartwick vs. Marist 5/13/06 - NCAA Championship Semifinals Consolation Round
Marist Goals:Kari Weston 1, Katelin McCahill, Mary Grisey, Caitlin Hopkins, Allison Rader
USC vs. Hawaii 5/13/06 - NCAA Championship Semifinals
Hawaii Goals: Anna Sieprath 2, Kelly Mason 2, Kristy Bagnall 2, Iefke Van Belkum