May 15, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -
The No. 3-seed UCLA women's water polo team scored first and last to win the third-place match over No. 4-seed USC, 6-5, in the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Bruins (26-7) won the rubber match over the Trojans (19-8), winning three out of five games on the year over their cross-town rival. UCLA scored first, but never led again until junior KK Clark scored the game-winning goal with 3:56 left in the fourth period. She led the Bruins with two goals on the day. The Bruins also received goals from Megan Burmeister, Emily Greenwood, Noel Umphrey and Grace Reynolds. Joelle Bekhazi led USC with two goals, both scored in the first period.
Greenwood struck first for the Bruins and scored a power play goal at 4:48 in the first period on a nice feed from Priscilla Orozco to put the Bruins up 1-0. Bekhazi answered right back for USC on a 6-on-5 opportunity at 4:32, beating UCLA goalkeeper Sami Hill in the top right corner. Bekhazi scored her second straight goal with 21 seconds left to give the Trojans a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period on a skip shot that found the back of the net on the right corner.
Patricia Jancso put the Trojans up 3-1 at 4:55 in the second period on a power play goal. Clark finally ended a 12-minute scoring drought for UCLA, beating USC goalie Flora Bolonyai on a 6-on-5 opportunity with 44 seconds left in the second period to make it 3-2 at halftime. The Bruins were 2-for-4 on 6-on-5 opportunities in the first half while USC was 2-for-7.
Reynolds scored from 2 meters with a left-handed cross-cage backhand shot that tied the score at 3-3 with 7:33 left in the third period. Nadia Dan reclaimed the lead for USC at the 6:00 mark with a lob shot over Hill. Umphrey scored her first goal on a power play shot that hit both posts to tie the score at 4-4 with 4:20 left in the third period. Dominique Sardo then scored a power play goal on a skip shot that went right over Hill's left shoulder to give the Trojans a 5-4 lead with 3:37 left. Burmeister tied it at 5-5 with 1:31 left on a high skip-shot that beat Bolonyai in the top right corner. The Bruins and the Trojans entered the fourth quarter of the rubber match tied at 5-5.
Reynolds drew a penalty shot right out of the gate in the fourth quarter with 7:40 left, but Bolonyai stopped Priscilla Orozco's shot to keep the score tied. UCLA then killed back-to-back 6-on-5 opportunities for USC to keep the game tied. Clark gave the Bruins their first lead since 1-0 in the first period when she lobbed a cross-cage shot over Bolonyai with 3:56 to go to put UCLA up 6-5. It would turn out to be the game-winning score. The Trojans missed an opportunity with a 6-on-5 play on a skip shot that hit the crossbar with 1:30 to go. Then Hill got a huge save for the Bruins with 18 seconds left on another power play opportunity for USC with the ball at 2 meters, denying Kaleigh Gilchrist from point-blank range.
Hill was credited with six saves in goal for UCLA while Bolonyai recorded 11 stops in the cage for USC.
No. 3-seed UCLA vs. No. 4-seed USC (NCAA Tournament, 3rd-Place Match)
USC Goals: Joelle Bekhazi 2, Dominique Sardo, Nadia Dan, Patricia Jancso
USC Saves: Flora Bolonyai 11
Exclusions: UCLA 14, USC 10