May 14, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The No. 3-seed UCLA women's water polo team dropped a national semifinal game to No. 2-seed California, 7-4, in the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Bruins (25-7) battled to a 4-4 tie near the end of the third quarter, but a buzzer-beater by California (26-4) in that period gave the Golden Bears all the momentum they needed heading into the fourth quarter. KK Clark led the Bruins with two goals. Priscilla Orozco and Kelly Easterday each scored a goal for UCLA. Emily Csikos scored a hat trick to lead the Golden Bears.
Csikos got loose in front of the goal on a counter attack and beat Caitlin Dement for the first goal of the game with 5:23 left in the opening period. Csikos made it 2-0 after her skip shot found the lower left corner of the cage at 4:33. The Bruins' first three shots hit the crossbar. Clark got the Bruins on the board at 1:58 when she fired to the top left corner past Stephanie Peckham to make it 2-1. The Bruins earned three 6-on-5 opportunities in the first period but were unable to capitalize on them.
UCLA struck first in the second quarter, tying it at 2-2 at the 5:22 mark when Orozco fired an outside shot in the top right shelf. Csikos scored a hat trick on the Golden Bears' next possession on a cross-cage power play goal with 4:55 left in the second. Cal took a 3-2 lead into the break and successfully killed all five of UCLA's 6-on-5 opportunities in the first half.
Easterday tied it at 3-3 on a nice pass from Clark on a 6-on-5 opportunity with 5:55 left in the third period. Jessica Robinson scored on a 6-on-5 opportunity to put Cal up 4-3 with 3:19 left, beating Dement cross cage in the top right corner. Clark scored her second goal of the day on a power play goal with 38 seconds left off a rebound shot and drilled the ball off of Peckham's hands to tie it at 4-4 with 38 seconds to go in the third. But Cal drew an exclusion with 11 seconds left and Kelly Mendoza scored a power play goal at the buzzer to give the Golden Bears a 5-4 lead after three periods.
Elizabeth McLaren scored from the outside and beat the UCLA defense in the top left corner to push the Cal lead to 6-4 with 4:33 left. The Bruins then hit the crossbar on a quick attack on their next possession. Mendoza scored her second of the day at 2 meters to extend the lead to 7-4 with 3:33 remaining and end the scoring.
Dement recorded five stops in goal for UCLA while Peckham was credited with 11 saves in the cage for California.
No. 3-seed UCLA will face No. 4-seed USC in the third-place match of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at Noon (PT). The Trojans (19-7) dropped their semifinal game 8-4 to No. 1 Stanford.
No. 3-seed UCLA vs. No. 2-seed California (NCAA Tournament, Semifinals)
California Goals: Emily Csikos 3, Kelly Mendonza 2, Jessica Robinson, Elizabeth McLaren
California Saves: Stephanie Peckham 11
Exclusions: UCLA 9, California 10