May 9, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - The top-seeded and undefeated UCLA women's water polo team defeated eighth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer, 19-6, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year. Katie Rulon, Gabrielle Domanic and Jillian Kraus each netted hat tricks for the Bruins.
UCLA scored early and often in the first quarter, totaling seven unanswered goals. Brittany Rowe put the Bruins on the scoreboard just 52 seconds into the contest, scoring after a Tanya Gandy steal. Rulon followed with a pair of goals in a two-minute span, first capitalizing on a Courtney Mathewson steal and then going end-to-end to score a minute later to put UCLA ahead 3-0. Anne Belden scored two consecutive goals of her own, and freshman Priscilla Orozco notched her first NCAA goal with a looping shot past the goalkeeper with 1:44 left on the clock. Domanic finished the first quarter scoring onslaught with her first goal at 1:02.
The Bruins opened up a 9-0 lead after notching two more goals - by Domanic and Kraus - to start the second quarter. Pomona-Pitzer stepped it up, with freshman Tamara Perea scoring back-to-back goals. Orozco scored her second goal of the game to give UCLA a 10-2 lead, but Perea scored again on a power play a minute later to cut into the Bruins' lead. A Domanic goal made it 11-3, but Laura Condon scored the Sagehens' fourth goal of the quarter with 34 seconds to play in the half.
UCLA outscored Pomona-Pitzer 5-1 in the third quarter, allowing just one power play goal. Kraus had two goals, and Rulon scored her third of the game. Kamaile Crowell and Megan Burmeister joined in on the scoring with their first goals of the contest to help the Bruins pull out to a 16-5 lead after three quarters.
Pomona-Pitzer recorded the first goal of the fourth quarter, with Condon notching her third of the game, but Melissa Mordell answered just 24 seconds later with her second goal of the season. The Sagehens had a good opportunity when they got an exclusion on Bruin goalkeeper Brittany Fullen, but UCLA got a huge defensive effort by Kim Nelson, who blocked a power play shot attempt with 5:37 left in the game. Kelsey McGinley added a goal with 2:34 remaining, and Nelson rounded out the scoring with a backhanded shot with 1:47 left to play.
Fullen finished the game with six saves to tie the school record for saves in a season (225), set by Nicolle Payne in 1998.
"They (Pomona-Pitzer) proved to be more competitive this year than last year, and that was really good to see," said UCLA head coach Adam Krikorian. "You can tell Alex has done a great job with that team. They fought and made it really difficult for us. They didn't make it easy. That's going to help us going into tomorrow's semifinal and hopefully the final if we're lucky enough to get there."
The Bruins advance to Saturday's 4 pm semifinal and will face the winner of the UC Davis/San Diego State game. No. 2-seeded Stanford and No. 3-seeded USC will face each other in the other semifinal.
No. 1 seed UCLA vs. No. 8 seed Pomona-Pitzer
Pomona-Pitzer Goals: Tamara Perea (3), Laura Condon (3)
Pomona-Pitzer Saves: Elena Peifer - 5
UCLA Goals: Katie Rulon (3), Gabrielle Domanic (3), Jillian Kraus (3), Anne Belden (2), Priscilla Orozco (2), Brittany Rowe, Kamaile Crowell, Megan Burmeister, Melissa Mordell, Kelsey McGinley, Kim Nelson
UCLA Saves: Brittany Fullen - 6